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Black Elk

Richard Durrant, The Pollinator Cafe, StringHenge & Afghanistan

September 3rd, 2021

One of the great benefits of wandering without a destination is that you sometimes have serendipitous encounters which restore your faith in the inherent goodness of life and its riches. Stephanie and I were caught in a downpour the other day, and drove with no aim in mind in an area unknown to us – a spur of land between the River Adur and the English Channel. We ended up in the Shoreham Fort car park and saw a horse-box converted into a tiny café. It turned out to be the project of musician Richard Durrant and his family. Here’s their story:

We came away with a copy of his wonderful album Stringhenge – “In Stringhenge the maverick guitarist and composer is living on the folk/classical cusp playing his own distinctive, solo guitar music alongside a fascinating collection of other English melodies. He also introduces his trademark arrangements of unaccompanied Bach juxtaposed, for the first time, with British Isles folk tunes. The effect is striking, almost as if he’s using the high baroque to unlock the hill barrows and henges of Britain.” It’s fantastic, and Damh the Bard has featured two of Richard’s pieces in the latest edition of Druidcast. See Richard’s website here.

I hope we can get Richard to play at one of our Glastonbury events. Meanwhile I see that he’s composed music for a film to be shown on September 6th, which has taken 20 years to make: “we first meet Mir Hussain as a cheeky, funny 7-year-old living in a cave next to the destroyed Buddhas of Bamiyan statues in central Afghanistan. Over the following two decades the film bears witness to his adventures and Afghanistan’s struggles”. The director says: ‘I can safely say that no film has captured the life inside an Afghan family in the way this one does. And little did we know that the final days of filming would coincide with the Taliban once again being in control of the country.’

Watch ‘My Childhood, My Country – 20 Years in Afghanistan’ on ITV1 and ITV Hub on Monday 6 September at 10:45pm (immediately after News at Ten).

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