Richard Durrant is emerging from his studio where he’s been buried in notes writing his new concerto: Six Grooves for Ukulele. But he’s looking forward to a fantastic season ahead. Here’s his update…
May has been a month for composing and it’s racing past – the only sunlight I’ve seen is when I’ve jumped on my bike for inspiration. But now I look to the start of my Summer Concerts; a mixture of Stringhenge (the first next Friday 26th May at Theatr Clwyd, Mold) and then a short run of gigs with the fantastic Mr Ledesma.
Yes, Ismael, one of the leading Paraguayan harpists of all time is returning to our shores for a weeks’ tour. Together we’ll be playing music from our new album Durrant y Ledesma which we launched in Paraguay last month.
If you didn’t see us last time you must try and come along – these gigs are something different! We start with an open air show at the Brighton Open Air Theatre on 15th June and finish at The Stables in Milton Keynes on 20th June.
I hope to see you soon and I hope the sun is shining on us all by then!
Tour Diary 2017: Upcoming Dates
Here are all the dates coming up in the next few months – but do check the website for updates as new shows are being added regularly.
Richard Durrant’s 30 Years on the Road – Ropetackle Arts Centre20 July 2016 : 7:30 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant’s 30 Years on the Road – Aslockton, Notts23 July 2016 : 7:30 pmThomas Cranmer Centre
Richard Durrant’s 30 Years on the Road – Isle of Skye29 July 2016 : 7:30 pmAros Centre
Richard Durrant’s 30 Years on the Road – Peebles, Scotland30 July 2016 : 7:30 pmEastgate Arts Centre
The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay – A Musical Talk with Q&A30 August 2016 : 7:00 pmThe Lecture Theatre
Guitars on the Beach9 September 2016 : 7:00 pm£5 - The Church of the Good Shepherd
Richard Durrant at Bailiffscourt16 September 2016 : 7:00 pmBailiffscourt
Richard Durrant in Shoreham-by-Sea24 September 2016 : 8:00 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant at Hurst Festival28 September 2016 : 7:30 pmChrist Church
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – London11 October 2016 : 7:30 pm£5 – £20 - Bolivar Hall
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – Shoreham by Sea12 October 2016 : 7:30 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – Crawley13 October 2016 : 7:45 pmThe Hawth
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – Edinburgh14 October 2016 : 7:30 pm£5 – £16 - Greyfriars Kirk
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – Scopwick15 October 2016 : 7:00 pmScopwick Village Hall
Richard Durrant & Ismael Ledesma – Swindon16 October 2016 : 7:30 pm£5 – £14 - The Platform, Main Hall
Ukulele Ground Zero workshop – Shoreham-by-Sea26 October 2016 : 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm£60 - Ropetackle Arts Centre
Ukulele Circuit Training workshop – Shoreham-by-Sea26 October 2016 : 7:30 pm - 8:30 pm£60 - Ropetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Shoreham-by-Sea **SOLD OUT**2 December 2016 : 8:00 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Cobham8 December 2016 : 7:30 pmSt Mary Magdalene Church
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Penrith9 December 2016 : 7:30 pm£25 - Hunter Hall School
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Stoke Golding **SOLD OUT**10 December 2016 : 8:00 pmStoke Golding Village Hall
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Mold, Flintshire11 December 2016 : 7:30 pmTheatr Clwyd
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Eccles14 December 2016 : 7:30 pmSt Mary’s Church
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Halesworth15 December 2016 : 7:30 pmThe Cut Halesworth
Richard Durrant Candlelit Christmas Concert – Wilmington – SOLD OUT!16 December 2016 : 7:30 pm£14 – £16 - St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church
Richard has recently returned from his visit to Paraguay where he and Ismael played a concert and launched their new album ‘Durrant y Ledesma’.
Richard also played a solo concert in Asuncion’s Salle Moliere – but while in Asuncion something magical happened:
Richards explains: ”Sometimes on these tours magical things can happen when you least expect them. While I was in Asuncion, I visited the Plaza Uruguaya – the very spot where Barrios Mangoré himself performed for the very last time in Paraguay in 1925. He left his home country soon after, never to return and died in 1944. I decided to play ‘La Última Canción’ a fitting piece for an impromptu, Paraguayan happening.
This film includes my remarkable, spontaneous encounter with Paraguayan dancer Gaby Cabrera. It was filmed and recorded entirely on i-phones (my phone was hidden just inside my guitar case to capture the audio) and then I edited it all in my hotel room. All this took place on Saturday, 8 April 2017.”
The Durrant y Ledesma album launch was a great success. This album is available from our online shop as a CD or as downloadable FLAC or Apple Lossless files at full mastering quality (96-24).
Richard’s book ‘The No 26 Bus to Paraguay’ is also available online and contains eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took the Richard all the way to Paraguay.
All these items are ow available in Richard’s online shop.
Richard’s latest show, Stringhenge, has now been performed three times and is showing all the signs of becoming a classic Durant creation, perhaps one to rival The Guitar Whisperer in terms of originality and artistic quality.
In these early shows audiences have been particularly struck by the Tenor Guitar renderings of music from the Bach Cello Suites juxtaposed with British folk melodies.
As Richard himself puts it: “I’m using the magic of Bach to unlock the hill barrows and henges of Britain”.
Add to the mix a weird and wonderful selection of English music (Henry Purcell segued into the Bromley Horn Dance Tune!?) performed on a guitar made from a 5,000 year old tree and the strange allure of Durrant’s Stringhenge creation begins to become apparent.
Standing barefoot in front of a beautifully lit backdrop, sometimes covered in projections of artwork inspired by neolithic Britain, Durrant seems at the height of his virtuoso powers. But the stories with which he links the music contrast a love of his native landscape with a growing discomfort for Britain’s new place in the world. Richard continues: “This is a real journey of discovery for me – exploring a love of Britain without tripping over the spectre of patriotism”.
Richard is particularly pleased with the look of the show. He explains: “My sister Ann has produced a series of prints that we’re using in the show. Ann works in her mobile studio which is built into a huge, blue bus. It’s got a wood burning stove and it’s own printing press. Very Stringhenge…”.
Stringhenge the tour is growing all the time with dates just in for France (Sept 2017) and Holland (March 2018). There are UK dates in June and September 2017 and many more are being planned for next year. An album has been mentioned more than once!
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Ditchling – SOLD OUT24 March 2017 : 7:30 pm£16 - The Old Meeting House
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles30 March 2017 : 7:30 pmToll Gavel United Church
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles22 April 2017 : 8:00 pmRopetackle Arts Centre
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Mold26 May 2017 : 8:00 pmTheatr Clwyd
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Farringdon, Oxfordshire23 June 2017 : 8:00 pm£14 - St Nicholas Church
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Corsham24 June 2017 : 7:30 pmThe Pound Arts Centre
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Bexhill-on-Sea30 June 2017 : 7:30 pmSt Peter’s Church
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Arboras, France16 September 2017 : 6:30 pmArboras Church
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Wilmington20 September 2017 : 7:30 pm£5 – £16 - St Mary’s & St Peter’s Church
Stringhenge: Acoustic Music Inspired by the British Isles – Tunbridge Wells21 September 2017 : 8:00 pmTrinity Theatre
“I was shocked by how much this city has changed in three and a half years. There are finished, new buildings everywhere with new roads and an air of change. I did venture into the town on my first night where large numbers of protesters were gathering – but this was a peaceful demonstration led by the young people of Asuncion. On the way back to my hotel I bumped into Cristobal Pedersen (father of harpist and composer Kike Pedersen) and we ended up sitting on the roof of the hotel looking out across the city listening to the singing of the protesters.”Richard’s eventful visit continued wth a press conference hosted by the French Embassy (Ismael lives in Paris) and attended by the French Ambassador, Jean-Christophe Potton and British Ambassador Jeremy Hobbs along with large numbers of journalists. Richard continues:
“The general feeling at the press conference, voiced by several folks, was that playing music and involvement in the arts was more important than ever in the current climate. I suppose with the seriousness of political change at home and abroad some people may scoff at this – but I have seen the reality of what music can give to a community whether in the remotest parts of Perù, in the craziness of Paraguay or back home in our own fractured country. I’m very glad to be a musician at this time.”Listen to a sample track from the new album: Durrant y Ledesma is available from our online shop as downloadable mp3 files as well as studio mastering quality 96-24 files in FLAC or ALAC album zip format – or as a physical CD.
The No 26 Bus to ParaguayRichard’s new book contains eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took the musician Richard Durrant all the way to Paraguay.
Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma have launched their eagerly awaited album Durrant y Ledesma. This album of guitar and harp music is a stunning collection of originals for guitar and harp written by both musicians; full of Paraguayan passion and rhythms teamed with European melodies. It was the sheer joy of playing and the success of their performances that led these two leading soloists to record their first duo album: Durrant y Ledesma But don’t just take our word for it! CLICK HERE to listen to this amazing sample track: La Balada del Indio. Richard met Ismael in London when he was performing at the Bolivar Hall for the Ambassador of Paraguay. Their first concert tour together came some months later in October 2016. This whistle-stop, six date UK adventure began just one day after they played together for the very first time. The audience reaction was incredible and it quickly became clear that producing an album was a must! Ismael Ledesma is a cultural ambassador for Paraguay although he has based himself in France for thirty years. He was invited to France by his uncle Kike Lucena after he finished school. He then joined the Paris circle of Latin American musicians whilst studying at the Paris Music Conservatoire. Ismael is now a successful international soloist. English guitarist and composer Richard Durrant is no stranger to South America. During his first visit to Paraguay he was honoured as an ‘Esteemed Visitor’ to the capitol city, Asuncion. He has appeared twice as soloist with the national orchestra, released a successful trilogy of Paraguayan albums and published a book of stories and music ‘The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay’ which catalogues his adventures and introduces guitarists to the new music he has uncovered over recent years. Richard and Ismael will be performing together in Asuncion, Paraguay this April to mark Ismael’s 35th Anniversary tour. In June they’ll be undertaking a short UK tour featuring music from their new album. Durrant y Ledesma is released through Proper music Distribution. Catalogue No: TBD 002CD The recording is now available online as mp3 files as well as studio mastering quality 96-24 files in FLAC or ALAC album zip format – only available from www.richarddurrant.com
We find out more about Richard’s strong personal connection with places and landscapes, along with two special stars accompanying him on his upcoming Stringhenge Tour 2017
The Stringhenge story is as old as the Long Man of Wilmington. Richard used to live in Wilmington Priory at the feet of The Long Man so the performance near here will have a real connection personally as well as to the landscape of the British Isles. Another performance in this great line up will be in a church in Baulking around midsummer – in sight of the Uffington White Horse itself.
Again highly significant as one of the real stars of this show will be Richard’s Uffington Tenor Guitar, built in Sussex by Ian Chisholm and featuring a beautiful inlay image of the horse.
And it is to Ditchling – the home town of Ian Chisholm – where the tour commences in March.
The other star will be Richard’s new six string Concert Guitar, built in Lincolnshire by Gary Southwell and made from a beautiful 5,000-year-old English oak. This ancient oak tree actually grew in North Norfolk and the challenge is now on to secure a performance as part of this tour as near as possible to where the wood in this fantastic instrument grew. Any suggestions anyone?
Richard’s music for this tour includes some real Durrant originals drawing inspiration from the hill barrows of Sussex, the flatlands of East Anglia and the mountains of Cumbria. Other pieces are chosen from eleven centuries of music. This is real roots music on the folk/classical cusp linking the mesolithic to the 21st century.
Stringhenge is as beautifully produced and richly visual as any of Durrant’s tours of recent years. It’s also unplugged allowing you to hear and feel the vibrations of the wood in these incredible guitars. As always, Durrant brilliant playing and clever weaving of intriguing tales
Stringhenge: Tour Dates 2017
Check the website for updates as new shows are being added regularly.
DITCHLING 24 March : 7:30 pm £16 – The Old Meeting House
BEVERLEY 30 March : 7:30 pm Toll Gavel United Church
SHOREHAM-BY-SEA 22 April : 8:00 pm Ropetackle Arts Centre
MOLD 26 May : 8:00 pm Theatr Clwyd
FARRINGDON 23 June : 8:00 pm £14 – St Nicholas Church
CORSHAM 24 June : 7:30 pm The Pound Arts Centre
1 March 2017 will be one of the most significant dates of Richard Durrant’s musical career with the much heralded launch of The Richard Durrant Academy.
“One of my longstanding dreams has been to share the benefits of a broad and diverse musical education. My time at the Royal College of Music was precious, but then so were the jazz chords that my dad taught me, the years of gigging around in the back of a truck or standing on a stage playing Bach.”
Richard’s idea of establishing an online academy is driven by his vision to help guitarists and ukulele players of all levels become more complete musicians – free to play any style of music. Here’s a sneak preview…
But it’s not all hard graft as Richard tells us…
“As a bit of fun we’ll also be offering regular Ukulele Puzzles and Guitar Solos which we hope you’ll all find entertaining whether you’re studying or not. Check out the first one appearing on my Facebook this Sunday evening, 19 February.”
We’ll be sending you a live link on 1 March so you can begin your studies straight away with:
- a ten lesson guitar module
- a ten lesson ukulele module
- a host of further enrichment materials.
The lessons are designed for beginners but are also ideal for more experienced players who want to improve technique and strengthen their knowledge of music.
All prices will be on the Richard Durrant Academy site when it goes live on 1 March.
But don’t miss the Special Offer…
The first 50 subscribers, and those who completed our survey, will receive a special discount.
See you there!