Renowned musician Richard Durrant’s Music for Midsummer odyssey comes to Castle Bytham en-route from Orkney to Sussex.
This is the second time that Richard Durrant will take on the marathon trip cycling the length of Britain from Orkney to Sussex, performing 15 concerts en-route. The first performance will be in Kirkwall on 2nd June which is the release date for his new album The Sleep of a King. It is however, his fourth cycling adventure which will see Richard pedal to The Castle Bytham Midsummer Festival.
Richard Durrant plays JS Bach on ukulele, makes concept albums which cross-fertilise folk and prog-rock with classical guitar, and is a delightful live storyteller. He is looking forward to releasing his new album and entertaining crowds on his annual Music for Midsummer tour, this summer. A classical guitar virtuoso, he never lets technical fireworks get in the way of the emotional impact of his music. The album and tour feature entirely new compositions.
Durrant says, “Thirty eight years after my London debut and performances at the Royal Albert Hall, I feel blessed to be undertaking this tour. Apart from the music by Bach which opens and closes each concert, these concerts are about my own solo guitar music.
“The audience are the focus of my concerts. I want people to feel welcome and appreciated; it’s for them that I play music and tell stories of troubadours, council bin-men and Persian princes. I stand throughout to make communication with the audience more direct and to take the guitar as far away from the classical realm as possible.”
Durrant’s Music for Midsummer odyssey starts in Orkney’s St Magnus Cathedral, and takes in (to name but a few) Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh, The Stables in Milton Keynes, YAT Guildford and a midsummer’s day concert at The Brighton Open Air Theatre.
Durrant will be completing this entire tour on a specially built bicycle, with a trailer for his instruments carrying his instruments and concert gear on an Aurelius, audax-style bicycle with trailer and panniers.
Durrant says: “Cycling and playing solo is more practical than the larger musical projects I’ve been involved in, I simply get on my bike and head for the next venue; there’s no pollution, no complexities, just pedals. The bike also looks beautiful on stage where it becomes an unexpected and intriguing work of art, equally at home in a theatre or cathedral!”
Durrant’s bicycle stands next to him at each concert, its lights illuminating his performance and he is motivated by the effect of constant touring on the environment (an average of 35,000 miles playing concerts in the years leading up to his first cycling music tour in 2014).
New Album – Sleep of a King
Durrant’s new album, The Sleep of a King will be available on Spotify, all other streaming platforms, and Bandcamp from nine minutes past four on the morning of the second of June, the time of sunrise on Orkney, which is where the Music for Midsummer tour starts.
Durrant says, “The new album, The Sleep of a King, is my first solo guitar album for seven years, and the first album I’ve made entirely of my own solo guitar compositions. It is inspired by the landscape and shared history of the British Isles.”
Connection with the land is central to Durrant’s recent work including his last two acclaimed albums Stringhenge and Rewilding.