Richard has arrived in Paraguay for two concerts. The first is with harpist Ismael Ledesma to play a gig at the Japanese Cultural Centre this Friday night. The concert is to mark Ismael’s 35 years of globetrotting performances and also to launch the new duo album “Ledesma y Durrant”.
The second performance is Richard’s solo concert on Tuesday at the Fausto Cultural. Preceded by a master class on the Monday, this solo concert will be Richard’s first in Paraguay since November 2013. The gig will include works by Paraguayan composers Agustin Barrios, Juan Duarte and Felipe Sosa.
A couple of days before Richard left for Paraguay there were large scale protests in the capitol Asuncion. Crowds took to the streets to rally against President Cartes’ intention to change the country’s constitution allowing the possibility of a second term of office for elected Presidents. The Congress was set on fire and one protester was killed in the demonstration. All this is happening at a time when Paraguay is enjoying record growth and prosperity.
“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.
“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 Paraguay
Richard’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.