Launching the Richard Durrant Academy

Richard Durrant Academy

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.

Richard explains:

“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

PLUS

  • 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!

Richard Durrant recording session with Ismael Ledesma

Ismael and Richard during the recording session

In addition to two fabulous concerts in Shoreham by Sea recently, guitarist Richard Durrant and Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma spent a week in the studio recording their debut album.

The album will feature original works by Ledesma and Durrant and, whilst every piece they play is collaborative, they did actually write one together: Guarania para Shoreham. Other tracks include Ismael’s Balada del Indio and Amazonas along with Richard’s Crossing to Lindesfarne and Wilbury Summer.

Ismael and Richard checking the sound levels

Ismael and Richard checking the sound levels

You’ll be able to download the new album or purchase the physical CD from this website from the end of March – ahead of the official release dates.

In early April Richard and Ismael will be heading to Paraguay for a concert tour and the South American launch of the Album in Asuncion, Paraguay. The offical UK launch will be marked by a short UK tour in mid-June.

Keep your eye on this website and Richard’s Facebook page for album previews, further gigs and other news.

Richard Durrant’s two-wheeled adventures

Richard Durrant's cycling tour

In recent years, the great two-wheeled eco-warrior Richard Durrant has cycled over 3,000 miles playing his famous Cycling Music concerts around England and Scotland.

So how did all this begin?

During an average year of playing concerts Richard travels 35,000 miles, which is why he undertakes much of his spring and summer touring on a bicycle carrying his stage show in his panniers and trailer. Being conscious of his disgracefully large carbon footprint, he decided back in 2014 it was time to pay something back to the environment by creating Cycling Music.

Richard Durrant Cycling Music

Cycling Music has become a huge success with tours in 2014 and 2015 during which he cycled the length and breadth of England and Scotland towing a cycle trailer behind him containing the entire show to over 50 venues complete with guitars, music and projection equipment.  

In 2014, Cycling Music raised money for The Big C charity, based in Norwich. The following year he cycled and gigged from Sussex to the Isle of Skye, and raised money for CDF, the Cyclists’ Defence Fund.

His album Cycling Music was created especially for the tours and was featured by the BBC during their coverage of Le Tour 2014. He also appeared on ITV’s Cycle Show talking about his tours and the challenges and experiences he faced enroute.

Have a listen to some of the amazing music from the Cycling Music album in Richard’s online shop where you can also buy the CD or download tracks from the album.

Richard is spending most of February in his studio writing some exciting, new music for the year ahead, but will soon be emerging to give three talks about bicycles and music! These will be given at U3A’s (University of the 3rd Age) in the south east – one in Tenterden and two in Brighton. 

But what about plans for a third Cycling Music UK tour in 2017? Richard says: “I suspect that revisiting my pedal powered adventures will result in another plan to get back in the saddle. Any excuse will do…just hearing the music makes my legs twitch.”

A sell out start to 2017

Richard Durrant and Ismael ledesma

What a great start to the year with a sell out gig at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in another beautiful musical collaboration between Richard Durrant and Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma.

One of the reasons Ismael has been working with Richard in recent weeks is to record a new joint CD. Featuring pieces by both Ismael and Richard in addition to some original Paraguayan works this is sure to be another hot seller when it is launched in March.

The No 26 Bus to Paraguay

In April the guys are heading off to Paraguay for a tour of solo and duo performances which they are really looking forward to. And a little further ahead in June they are already taking booking for a UK launch tour which will include an open air gig in Brighton, a show at the Stables at Milton Keynes – and many more!

French Ukulele Adventurers

How about a week long musical holiday in a beautiful country house near Bordeaux? The popularity of Richard’s Ukulele Circuit Training has led to him organising this fantastic opportunity of all Ukulele players from beginners to advanced from 16-21 May.

French gite

Each day there will be daily Ukulele Circuit Training sessions as well as individual and group sessions. As well as musical enrichment sessions there will also be lots of opportunities to learn from each other. At the end of the week everything comes together in a concert. But it’s not all work as a week at this inspiring, peaceful and rustic haven will also allow plenty of time for relaxing, swimming, eating and drinking in the French sunshine.

Camp fire

It’s easy to get to as well being close to Bordeaux airport which is well connected to many UK airports and just a few minutes walk from a railway station. There’s only space for 20 people so get in touch with Richard quick on info@richarddurrant.com

Happy New Year from Richard Durrant – and will you take my 30-second questionnaire?

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Dear Friends,

A very Happy New Year to you all. I hope you’ve had a fantastic Christmas and here’s to a fun-filled and fulfilling 2017!

To kick off the New Year I’ve decided to send out a questionnaire, I hope you don’t mind! Please read on.

Following the recent success of my Ukulele Circuit Training courses and the French Guitar Adventurers residential summer school, I’m launching a new venture, the Richard Durrant Guitar and Ukulele Academy.

Using the online resources offered by the Academy, this will enable me to teach and share music with fellow musicians from around the world.

I aim to explore the physicality of playing an instrument by looking at different playing styles and repertoires. I’m also particularly keen to help musicians alleviate stress and to avoid any anxiety associated with playing or performing.

And here’s where I need your help. I want to make sure that the Academy is welcoming, interesting, helpful and inspiring. Therefore, whether you currently play or not – after all, this could be just the spur you need – please spare a couple of moments to complete this short survey:

Many thanks for your time…and I’ll keep you posted as things progress. In the meantime here’s some of our events planned for 2017 – but rest assured many more will be added as the year unfolds!

Best wishes,

Richard


 

Richard Durrant’s Christmas Guitars

Trio

Richard is half way through his Christmas tour and if you’ve been following his live Facebook posts it has been going down a real treat. Most venues have been sold out and the audience feedback has been warm, enthusiastic and just fabulous wherever they have appeared:

“Truly incredible and beautiful. The most beautiful guitar playing I’ve ever heard”
Saan White – Sayers Common Church

“Brilliant concert last night. We’d never seen any of you before but you were individually superb, and collectively sublime.”
Chris Smith – Theatre Clwyd

“You were all fantastic at Cobham last week – thank you”
Katherine Gatehouse – Cobham

Meanwhile, we’ve been delving into Richards new online shop and have found the perfect Christmas gift with Richard Durrant’s Christmas Guitars – his 14 track kaleidoscopic vision of what Christmas means to this most gifted and eclectic acoustic musician.

Christmas Guitars

Available as a physical CD, full album download, or – for the real connoisseurs, a FLAC full album download. Have a listen to one of the tracks here in Mark Charlton’s film with Barry Cartledge’s photography of northern English, winter landscapes:

With Amy Kakoura’s vocals, contributions from a school choir as well as Richard’s own young children, the UK guitar maestro allies his revered technique to everything he can lay his hands on in his studio: Hammond, harpsichord, piano, cello, mandolins, ukulele and recorders are heard alongside Durrant’s guitars. And just when you think the Christmas mix cannot get any richer, up pops the gravelly voice of comedy legend Barry Cryer on ‘The Polar Bear’ – inspired by the well-documented plight of the bears in their changing Arctic environment.

Track listings

1. Winter Danza
2. Emmanuel Gloria
3. Past Three O’Clock
4. Joululaulu
5. A Christmas Eve Lullaby
6. The Secret Dance Of The Pets
7. An Acoustic Winter Solstice
8. All The Animals
9. A Northern Winter Night
10. Because Of Christmas Day
11. A Christmas Wish
12. The Polar Bear (Bear; Cubs: Ice January; The Swim; Artic Sky)
13. This World Needs To Sing
14. A Christmas Eve Lullaby (Coda)

Christmas Guitars

Other tracks include the pared-back poignancy of Finnish song ‘Joululaulu’ and Phil Jewson’s ‘Because of Christmas Day’ – written for Durrant and showcasing him in his element – gorgeous, solo guitar with nothing added. Anchoring the whole album is Durrant’s masterly tone poem ‘An Acoustic Winter Solstice’, full of icy wonder and otherworldliness.

A Quiet Word from the 13th Century

And don’t forget Richard’s other great Christmas stocking filler is A QUIET WORD FROM THE 13TH CENTURY. Also available as a physical CD, full MP3 album download and FLAC full album download,  this Christmas album features the voice of Amy Kakoura in some seasonal favourites both medieval and new including I Saw Three Ships, O Little Town of Bethlehem and Personent Hodie.

Christmas goodies from Richard Durrant

Still wondering what to get for the ‘person who has everything’ this Christmas? Here are a few seasonal ideas for some great Christmas gifts from Richard Durrant.

Richard is currently in the midst of his Magical Candlelit Christmas Tour. Let’s hear how it’s going in his own words:

“Kicking off the tour with a packed house and news of further sell outs was a great way to start my Christmas shows – but this was also the first real test of my idea to bring Amy Kakoura and Nick Pynn together in the same show. Did it work?  Well – yes. It was a dream come true – these two are great musicians and great entertainers and the sound of our first trio had a sort of triumphant ring. It really is a  beautiful, folky, wintry recipe that we have cooked up and it seems to be a lot more than the sum of its parts.  But then the same can be said of Christmas…”

If you’re looking for a rather special pre-Christmas treat be aware that tickets are selling fast – check for the latest availability near you:

And looking ahead to 2017 some of Richard’s show are already on sale…

Richard Durrant and Ismael ledesma

Following the huge success of the partnership with the Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma, Richard and he are recording an album in January and performing together at the Ropetackle Arts Centre in Shoreham-by-Sea on Tuesday 24 January before heading of to Paraguay when they take their musical partnership to South America. Tickets would be a really special Christmas present:

Another great Christmas present would be a couple of tickets to see Stringhenge. Richard Durrant’s latest musical adventure will feature the Sussex built Uffington Tenor Guitar and a unique six string Concert Guitar, built in Lincolnshire and made from 5,000 year old bog oak.

Stringehenge tour

Stringhenge is as beautifully produced and richly visual as any of Durrant’s recent tours. Its also unplugged allowing you to hear and feel the vibrations of the wood in these incredible guitars. Durrant plays them brilliantly and is a clever weaver of intriguing tales linking music from the neolithic to the 21st century.

Tickets for several Stringhenge concerts are already on sale:

Ditchling, East Sussex: 24 March

Beverley, Yorkshire: 30 March

Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex: 22 April

If it’s stocking fillers you are looking for then check out the brilliant sounds of Richard Durrant from the Online Shop stuffed full of CDs and downloads:

Christmas Guitars

And what better Christmas treat than Richards latest amazing, colourful and intriguing book: The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay. Containing eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces, plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took a musician all the way to Paraguay this really is a Christmas giveaway at just £20.

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

Richard Durrant’s Christmas Sleigh Ride

In less than a month Richard Durrant will be heading out in his magic sleigh together with his special guests Amy Kakoura and Nick Pynn on his Candlelit Christmas Concert Tour. In this article we take a closer look at the fabulous venues where he will be delivering his Christmas goodies. Will there be a venue near you?

Christmas tour

Starting off on 2 December in West Sussex at his home venue of the Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham-by-Sea. Richard is actually giving a further two performances here later in December so there are several opportunities to catch him here.

Ropetackle Arts Centre

Next it’s on to the atmospheric 13th century church of St Mary Magdalene in Cobham, Kent before whizzing up north to the Lake District for a visit to the lovely Hunter Hall School in Penrith then down to rural Leicestershire and the village of Stoke Golding on the Ashby-de-la-Zouch canal – famous for being the birthplace of the Tudor Dynasty.

Cobham, Penrith and Stoke Golding

Cobham, Penrith and Stoke Golding

Over the border to north Wales for the next leg of this whistle stop UK tour and to Theatr Clwyd in the Flintshire town of Mold before heading across the country to East Anglia and the charming church of St Mary the Virgin near Eccles before a trip down to The Cut, an arts centre in a converted former maltings on pretty Suffolk village of Halesworth.

Theatr Clwyd, Eccles, The Cut

Theatr Clwyd, Eccles, The Cut

A few more to go and all in the South East for the final calls at the quaint 11th century church of St Mary’s & St Peter’s, Wilmington in East Sussex. After the two extra performance at the Ropetackle it’s on to Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent for a show at the cleverly converted Trinity Theatre. And Christmas will finally be well and truly wrapped in West Sussex when the tour finally comes to rest at All Saints Church in Findon Valley, Worthing.

Wilmington, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Worthing

Wilmington, Royal Tunbridge Wells, Worthing

Richard will certainly have earned a mince pie or two by then! A sell-out success year after year, Richard’s evocative playing and stunning stage set create a magical aura perfectly aligned to the festive season. Ensure Richard Durrant’s Candlelit Christmas Tour is part of your Christmas schedule this year.

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay

A new book containing eleven, previously unreleased, beautiful new guitar pieces plus the story of how a number 26 Brighton bus took a musician all the way to Paraguay has now been published. 

Richard Durrant’s amazing, colourful and intriguing new book is called The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay.

Richard explains:

“As a kid I used to catch the number 26 bus every Wednesday night from where I lived on a council estate just outside Brighton to guitar lessons in Hove. 

I loved that bus ride; I’d sit all alone on the upper deck, gazing out at the Sussex Downs watching the changing seasons. I made that journey for years, regular as clockwork. It was a musician’s journey, full of dreams.

I also remember one hot summer’s afternoon, just back from school and playing in the garden under the open kitchen window. My Mum had put my favourite Alirio Diaz record on the family radiogram and the music of Agustín Barrios was blaring out of the house.”

Agustin Barrios, 1922

Agustin Barrios, 1922

“Many years later I was living nine miles along the coast in Shoreham by Sea, with children of my own.  And one of those No 26 bus ride dreams had come true: I was living the life of a full time musician.

Then one day in early 2011 – whilst working on a collection of recordings of music by Barrios – the phone rang. It was a man with a strong South American accent:

“Would you consider travelling to Paraguay to play some concerts and launch your new album?”.

I smiled: “OK”.

There remained just one important question: 

What to call the album?

The answer was easy:  The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay.

A page from Richard Durrant's brilliant new book

In April 2011 Richard arrived in Paraguay for the first time and a new musical adventure began. Over the next few years he returned to this fascinating land which inspired some of his finest work, amazing tales, three albums, awards and accolades.

In this beautiful book, guitarist and composer Richard Durrant tells his story in music, pictures and words. With artwork by Mark Charlton, photos from Richard’s tours and a vibrant cover illustration by Miranda Vincent 

The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay is available now in its limited first edition from this website. It will also be on sale at live shows.

Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledesma

Hear Richard Durrant and Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma live in concert 11-16 October in London, Shoreham-by-Sea, Crawley, Edinburgh, Scopwick and Swindon.


Learn Ukulele this Autumn with Richard Durrant

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

By popular demand! Richard is offering a series of fantastic opportunities to learn the Ukulele this autumn. Whether you are a complete beginner or want to improve your Uke skills these workshops are for you. Held in Shoreham-by-Sea and Brighton there are three courses on offer – each for an hour a week over a six week period starting 26 October.

Richard Durrant Ukulele Workshops

Ukulele Ground Zero

If you are a complete beginner this course is for you. This six-week introduction to uke playing is an informative, enjoyable and a comprehensive way to start your ukulele adventures. Join Richard for this gentle and friendly way to get started with this accessible and fun filled instrument.

WHERE: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea. BN43 5EG

WHEN: 6pm to 7pm First session is on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ropetackle Arts Centre


Ukulele Circuit Training

If your uke playing has plateaued, then this immensely enjoyable and popular weekly musical workout is the perfect solution. Learn new techniques whilst developing a deeper and more instinctive understanding of chords, notes and songs. Join Richard and get closer to your inner uke in a friendly and exhilarating hour of musical keep-fit in Shoreham-by-Sea or Brighton this Autumn.

WHERE: Ropetackle Arts Centre, Little High Street, Shoreham-by-Sea. West Sussex. BN43 5EG

WHEN: 7.30pm – 8.30pm starting on Wednesday 26 October 2016

Ropetackle Arts Centre

WHERE: Hobgoblin Music, Queens Road, Brighton.BN1 3XF

WHEN: 7pm – 8pm starting on Thursday 27 October 2016

Hobgoblin Music


Each course is just £60 for the 6 week course

For more information call 01273 453422.