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Published: 24 August 2020

PhD student serenades keyworkers with ‘Gigs in Your Garden’ during lockdown

During the Covid-19 lockdown, Surrey’s Department of Music and Media and International Guitar Research Centre PhD student, Benjamin Bruant, has been performing private garden concerts for nominated key workers.

With gigs cancelled and venues closed, classically trained Benjamin and his bandmate Will Cashel have been bringing their unique flamenco sound to key workers across the south-east, with ‘Gigs in Your Garden’ every Friday night. Initially a series of streamed online concerts entitled ‘Friday Night Flamenco’, the idea developed into personal, small scale performances to thank people on the coronavirus frontline. Nominations for worthy recipients can be made through the band’s Facebook page or website, with the only criteria being that the recipient is a keyworker or has made a real difference to their community during the lockdown. 

Ben and Will’s free performances, under the band’s name Duo, have received huge amounts of media coverage, featuring on BBC BreakfastSky News and a double page spread in The Times newspaper, to name a few. 

Benjamin is currently studying for his PhD in the Department of Music and Media at Surrey, on the collaboration between Mario Castelnuovo Tedesco and Andres Segovia, and will be submitting his thesis in the autumn. 

Regarding Benjamin’s efforts, Professor Steve Goss, Director of the International Guitar Research Centre, commented: “Benjamin is now nearing the end of his PhD journey at Surrey. He’s been an active and involved member of our community, particularly in his support and mentoring of new PGR students. His work with Duo during lockdown exemplifies his altruism and his ability to do something positive and inspiring in the face of adversity”. 

Discover more about Benjamin’s work

Learn more about studying for a PhD in the Music and Media Department

© Ben Anker
Duo perform a GIYG
Duo perform a GIYG for Judith and Jeanette
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