Richard Durrant and Ismael Ledsesma – Durrant y Ledesma

Album Review | The Burning Deck | Review by Liam Wilkinson | Stars: 4/5

The Brighton-born guitarist and composer Richard Durrant is a musician who rigorously refuses to be labelled. A quick spin of any of his records – and there are many of them – demonstrates the diversity at work in this artist’s repertoire. Durrant is as much a classical guitarist as he is a folk guitarist. For every bit of Scotland and England in his playing there is a little South America and a pinch of Eastern Europe, too. Indeed, Durrant not only crosses geographical boundaries with his music but also those of time; recent albums, for example, have focussed on music from the thirteenth century as well as arrangements of Vivaldi and Bach. For his latest outing, Durrant has teamed up with Paraguayan harpist Ismael Ledesma to produce an album of such fetching elegance that you find yourself taking a deep breath between tracks. These are tunes that lull the listener into a state of total tranquillity, not simply due to their sweet melodies but via the exquisite musicianship that, during such tracks as “Guarania Para Shoreham” and “Amazonas”, lends new profundity to the act of plucking a single string. Both players are deeply connected to their instruments and, like the collaborations of Seckou Keita and Catrin Finch or Ballake Sissoko and Vincent Segal, it’s often hard to know where one musician ends and the other begins. There are also some moments of jubilant energy on this wonderfully engaging eleven-track album, such as “La Balada Del Indio” and “El Vagabundo” that ripple the serenity with equal vigour and grace.