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The great Paraguayan Agustin Barrios "Mangore" plays the starring role in this latest, solo stage show by Richard Durrant, the UK’s most imaginative and accomplished concert guitarist. And Cumbrian audiences will have the chance to see the event at Crosby Ravensworth this month.
This musical event demonstrates just how far one man can extend the expressive range of this instrument - light years from what you might expect a classical guitar recital to be.
In the show Mangore's greatest and most popular guitar works are heard alongside those of his contemporaries and beyond. A fascinating musical tale then unfolds that weaves together Los Paraguayos, Manuel de Falla, Debussy & Django Reinhardt.
Durrant is recognised in Paraguay as one of the greatest interpretors of Barrios in the world today. Now he is using his stage craft and theatrical talent to show Mangore in an international context. The result is a fabulous and intriguing night out.
The UK "Number 26 Bus to Paraguay show" will be one of the most significant Paraguayan musical events in the UK since the days of Los Paraguayos and the great Luis Alberto Parana. The concert, played on solo guitars with beautiful visuals, lighting and projections, builds on the success of Durrant's recent "Guitar Whisperer" and “Danza Paraguaya” concerts.
From Penny Lane to Paraguay, from a Sussex sandpit to the Royal Albert Hall, Richard Durrant’s life has been about music from the very beginning. His earliest musical memory is of listening to his older brothers and sisters playing Beatles records, but from the moment toddler Richard rescued a battered guitar from a sandpit, it was true love. He’s tried everything from the recorder to the cello, trombone, double bass and piano, but he always comes back to that first love – the guitar.
His passion for the music of Agustin Barrios began aged 8 after receiving an Alirio Diaz record for Christmas. By then Richard was already a fluent guitarist but he was floored both by Diaz's style of playing and three precious tracks by Barrios featured on side two of the record.
Richard said: "Those three pieces changed everything, I loved those tracks even more than my Dad's Django records."
By the time Richard attended the Royal College of Music he was an experienced performer with a growing reputation. But the fact that he spent much of his college career singing Bob Dylan songs in London's tube stations hinted that this musician was unlikely to follow a conventional route through the profession. Indeed, following his debut recital at the South Bank in 1986, Richard turned sharply left and pursued his diverse interests in electro/acoustic music, improvisation, composition and multi-media. These interests led to Richard's high achieving career, noteworthy as much for its display of versatility as this musician's tendency towards perfectionism.
Its only in more recent years that Richard has focussed once more on his childhood passion for playing the guitar. Although now, of course, his playing is enriched and informed by those wild years of diversification, and the energy with which he visited such far corners of the music industry can now be heard pouring out of his precious guitar.
Richard's proudest musical moment so far came in Paraguay’s capital Asunción in May 2011. He had been invited to launch his latest solo album (the number 26 bus to Paraguay Longman 056CD) in Paraguay and, whilst there, in recognition of his services as a champion of Agustín Barrios Mangore, Durrant was officially proclaimed an Illustrious Visitor to the country. He will be returning to South America for more concerts in 2012.
For now his shows “The Number 26 Bus to Paraguay”, "Danza Paraguaya" and "The Guitar Whisperer" will continue touring the UK during 2012 stopping off at Crosby Ravensworth Village Hall on Tuesday January 24.