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Richard Navarro, musician and song-writer, plays at Deal's Astor Theatre, Canterbury's Marlowe Studios and the Trinity Theatre, Tunbridge Wells

If you love the Kent coastline and countryside then you’re likely to enjoy the music and lyrics of Richard Navarro, for that’s where he finds much of his inspiration.

The natural world has stirred some of the messages and much of the vivid imagery within his new album Let Go Light, produced with Richard’s songwriting partner and bass player, Nicholas Thurston.

“My sound is music that’s driven by strong melodies, strong hooks, but music that’s based around telling the story of the lyrics.

“Lyrics are the key to me for any song and performance – the music is helping to tell that story,” says Richard, 34, who brings a classical and jazz background to his sound, which might be described as contemporary folk/singer-songwriter material.

Canterbury musicians Richard Navarro (right) and Nicholas Thurston
Canterbury musicians Richard Navarro (right) and Nicholas Thurston

“I started playing piano when I was around five or six and then begged my parents to let me play the violin when I was about seven, which put them through a bit of pain early on!

“I started playing with orchestras and string quartets in my teens. I really enjoyed that and learned a lot of what I do musically on stage, how to perform, from playing in orchestras,” said Richard.

“I was fortunate to have parents who had a great record collection, mostly from the 60s and 70s and I got into great songwriting through those LPs: Stevie Wonder, King Crimson, and they all had wonderful album covers for a nine or 10-year-old. There’s not as much fuss about album art these days, but that’s what drew me in initially. I wrote a song when I was 10 about world peace, the lyrics of which I’ll never publish!”

'I was fortunate to have parents who had a great record collection, mostly from the 1960s and the 1970s'

One thing that’s not changed is that Richard still feels the importance of a message within his lyrics.

“Songwriting is a great way to write about your experiences and recently I’m trying to write – together with Nicholas – about things we experience through media and the news and what emotional effect they have on us,” he says.

“What inspires me most, I suppose, is landscapes, the natural world, the sea. Let Go Light is about that image of light and holding things close that are precious to you, whether that’s people, principles, or what you believe in, that others are trying to convince you that you shouldn’t believe in.”

Richard explains what the audience can expect on those nights.

“All of the visuals have been especially designed for the song, the lyrics and the beat.

“I use live looping when I’m on stage, which means I might add one violin line and then another and then another – you go with the moment, it’s a bit like improvising within the structure of a song. As well as Nicholas and myself we’ve got James Hatton on percussion, and in Canterbury we’ve got trumpet player Steve Waterman and Brendan Power, on harmonica, who will be joining us on some songs.”

Richard gives us a flavour of his new album, Let Go Light, by explaining his inspiration behind a couple of the songs.


“Cloud Lemonade is about a fantasy of this lemonade stall on the seafront at Whitstable. People love to visit it because, yes it does lovely lemonade, but the girl running it is charming and friendly. It was talking about the value of individuality and independent retailers in opposition to branding and that sort of thing. We called the album Let Go Light because I suppose there’s a lot of mine and Nicholas’ moral sentiment in it without being preachy about it.”


“Salt and Light is about the east Kent coastline. That’s half of the story, but it’s also considering it is a place that people have wanted to make their home for centuries. We started to consider our feelings about the migration issue, the propaganda that’s fed to you about how fearful we might be about the people who are coming to this country. We wanted to write something that was not directly political, but something that celebrated how welcoming a place it has been for those who’ve come, and keeping hold of that despite persuasions to the contrary.”

Richard Navarro will be performing at the following venues

The Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells on Friday, February 6 at 8pm. Tickets cost £10 for adults or £8 for concessions including students. Visit www.trinitytheatre.net or call 01892 678678.

The Marlowe Studio in Canterbury on Saturday, February 14 at 8pm. Tickets cost £15. Visit www.marlowetheatre.com or call 01227 787787.

The Astor Theatre in Deal on Friday, February 20 at 8pm. Tickets cost £10. Visit www.theastor.org or call 01304 370220.

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