Shoreham guitarist Richard Durrant: why life must change post-pandemic

Shoreham-based guitarist and composer Richard Durrant is absolutely buzzing musically and has never worked harder.

Wednesday, 17th February 2021, 10:00 am
Richard Durrant

He is feeling hope – and that’s what he is wanting to put across in his new series of online livestreamed concerts.

“I am completely bursting with ideas and thinking about my sound and thinking about my playing, and I just want to express all that in a really positive way – which is what the spring season of concerts is all about. The spring season is all about saying that there is light at the end of the tunnel.”

For Richard, it’s all about the journey out of Midwinter – about pointing his guitar in the direction of the light and the comfort of spring. The first concert was streamed live from his studio at the end of January. Concert number two The Pollinator will offer music inspired by the natural world on Saturday, February 27 at 7pm. It will include Los Abejorros (both Barrios & Pujol), El Colibri and Panambi Rait’y & Triskellion (from Rewilding). Concert number three is entitled Classical Guitar Music to Welcome the Spring – music by Fernando Sor and Mauro Giulliani (Saturday, March 27 at 7pm).

“Music is in a very difficult place at the moment,” as Richard says. “You can’t plan anything, along with most other professionals, and normal touring is still looking unlikely. I do have my annual mid-summer tour booked in which is a cut-and-paste job from last year. But it is astonishing that we are still in a time of uncertainty.

“There is a chance that the tour might happen, but I don’t think it will be back to full capacity. And that is difficult because touring involves a lot of miles and hotels and publicity. In those circumstances, you can do it because it is worth it as an artistic and spiritual endeavour, but financially it is a disaster. We are existing at the moment on about ten per cent of income. We have had absolutely zero support from anywhere.”

But against that, as Richard says, there are exciting new formats and exciting new possibilities to explore.

“I have never worked harder in my life. It is odd.

“The pandemic is such an awful thing that is sweeping across the globe and there is so much suffering, and the UK has seen such slow thought processes in the minds of the government that we have really, really suffered.

“But if you can somehow remove yourself from the dreadfulness, it has been absolutely fascinating how people are changing and adapting and reinventing their lives.

“I think we are learning that small is beautiful, and we are reconnecting with our lives and our communities on that local level because we are only travelling short distances. At the first concert I played my piece The Girl At The Airport… and I was thinking how archaic is that, that lifestyle of jetting off to South America to play concerts. There is a decadence and an arrogance about it in the face of nature.

“It is extraordinary how life used to be, and I hope and pray that life will never return to how it was before. I want us to realise that we don’t have the right to travel huge distances around the world in the way that we used to, in a way that damaged the environment.”

Richard is hoping we are on the verge of a new world – and a better one.

“This last year, I have changed as a musician. I have reassessed what I am hoping to do. Composers and musicians thrive in a solitary existence in a way, and even when you are travelling you are quite insular.

“But all that has been intensified by this situation. And my concentration on my work has improved.”

Richard’s themed solo concerts will take place on the last Saturday of February and March on YouTube and Facebook. Voluntary tickets of £10 (or multiples of £10) are now on sale on Richard’s website.