Author: james


Stand and be counted, o people of peace
Where love has been sown shall our harvest increase
Our hues, our religions, our tongues though diverse
Lend vibrant variety to our universe

People of peace, arise, arise!
Our future’s unfolding before our eyes
The choice we now face was never more clear
For our human race is to love instead of fear

-from ‘I Am a Seed of Peace’ by James Durst
© PhoeniXongs ASCAP

Wishing you peace, wherever you happen to be.


Let me make this short and sweet.
I don’t do Twitter. I don’t Tweet.
Said it once. Let me repeat:
I don’t do Twitter. I don’t Tweet.
Some may think me incomplete
That I don’t do Twitter & I don’t Tweet.
As it is I rarely leave my seat
Sometimes I forget to eat
Got websites, Facebook, emails to delete.
So I don’t do Twitter. I don’t Tweet.
Life’s already much too fleet
Gotta separate the chaff from wheat
So there it is, etched in concrete:
I. Don’t. Do. Twitter.
I. Don’t. Tweet.
-10 July 2013


– To the tune of ‘Little Boxes’ with apologies to Malvina Reynolds & Pete Seeger (6/26/13)

Little boxes in the beehive, little boxes filled with ticky tacky
Little boxes, bigger boxes, and more boxes all around
And the movers filled the boxes with the artifacts of our histories
The astonishing accumulation that, were it water, we’d have drowned

And the stuff lives in the living room and the bedroom and the dining room
The garage is overflowing with detritus from the past
There’s so little we can’t live without,
So we’re using this opportunity to divest, unload and discard
All the ticky tacky we’ve amassed

So as we dive in amongst the boxes, all the boxes filled with ticky tacky
Pray we aren’t lost in an avalanche made of cardboard sealed with tape
Send a search team or a Saint Bernard to save us from our lives of ticky tacky
Give us strength to become en-lightened and from the ticky tacky to escape

Newest Release: ‘MY COUNTRY IS THE WORLD’ “A beautiful CD”–Folk Roots Magazine

‘My Country is the World’ is the reprised, remixed & remastered collection I first released in 1997 after 2 years of recording in numerous studios from coast to coast. Having gathered songs virtually everywhere I’ve played in some 45 countries since 1965, it first featured songs in such unexpected tongues as Vietnamese, Icelandic, Turkish, Greek, Hebrew and Danish. With the addition of 6 BONUS TRACKS, the album now boasts 20 songs in 19 languages. In ’97 Folk Roots Magazine said: “The diversity is astonishing. Durst’s sense of arrangement ensures that the material is both smooth and coherent, and he is able to unite the wide spectrum of cultures he embraces. This is a beautiful CD.” It remains my favorite child. I hope you’ll invite her into your heart and your home. Although the official release date is Earth Day, copies are available right here, right now. ORDER NOW and Celebrate Earth Day every day!
Vaya con Cantos, James


ECONOMIC STIMULUS: First CD purchased is $15, then each additional CD is just $10 + FREE SHIPPING!

The Truth About Homo Sapiens (POEM)

More hunted than hunter
Not predator but prey
‘Twas cooperation
Kept carnivores at bay
Community not conflict
Says our DNA
It’s because we worked together
We’re still here today
-James Durst © 2009



Pirates have been popular
And vampires even more so
Combined they’d be (it seems to me)
A force to make the gore flow
Vampirates! Vampirates!
The next big thing you heard here first
Send the royalties to my mailbox
Make the check out to James Durst

© 2012 James Durst

Serene ‘RIPPLES of PEACE’ book added to Store – Check it out


111 Ways You Can Help Create Peace in the World
Edited and Compiled by Rae Thompson
With Photos by Mark Tucker
Foreword by Louise Diamond

RIPPLES OF PEACE is an exquisitely wrought collection of quotes, poems, aphorisms, exhortations and prayers from global peacemakers lovingly created by writer Rae Thompson and complemented with photos by this generation’s Ansel Adams, Mark Tucker. Should live on everyone’s coffee table or travel in one’s backpack for ready reference.

$17 includes US shipping (elsewhere please add $5)



Words and Music by John Fisher & James Durst
© 2000 PhoeniXongs ASCAP

Well, we need more food for our hungry ones
It takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need more food by the tons and tons
What we don’t need is any more guns

Well, we need education for our younger ones
It takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need better schools for our daughters and our sons
What we don’t need is any more guns

‘Cause any more guns is many more tears
We’ve got enough guns for a thousand years
Shut the factories, then retool
Not another gun for another damn fool

Well, we need to clean the river of the pollution
It takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need to dredge up the poison where the Hudson runs
What we don’t need is any more guns

‘Cause any more guns is many more tears
We’ve got enough guns for a thousand years
Shut the factories, then retool
Not another gun for another damn fool

‘Cause guns don’t hammer and guns don’t saw
They don’t help build anything at all
They can’t help a seed grow tall into the sky
They only make people bleed
They only make people die

We must declare our independence from petroleum
It takes a lot of work to get the job done
We need to harness up the power of the water, wind and sun
What we don’t need is any more guns

‘Cause any more guns is many more tears
We’ve got enough guns for a thousand years
Shut the factories, then retool
Not another gun for another damn fool

HEAR ‘Not Another Gun’

2010 in Retrospect / Holiday Greeting

December 2010

The Bengali song Duranta Ghurnir (it means “Life is a whirlwind,” more or less) that Madhumita and I sing together on my Internationally Unknown CD could be this past year’s theme song. We made 3 international trips: Egypt in February (belated honeymoon), Israel in May (we performed 12 concerts in 9 days) and then India to visit family in Kolkata for 10 days at the end of October/beginning of November. Returning home November 6th (my fifty-fifteenth natal observation), our connecting flight in Delhi departed just after midnight, arriving at JFK soon after 6:30am — so with all the time zonal changes, I actually enjoyed around a 33-hour birthday. And  since most folks were not traveling on the Diwali holiday, our half-full return flight afforded each and every one of us 3 seats across which to stretch our languid forms in relative luxury.

Our Israel trip got off to a rip-roaring start when upon arrival I discovered that Delta had managed to separate the neck from the body of my guitar. Some feat considering my travel case, specially-designed for  checking as baggage, had been back and forth to India 5 times, Israel twice before, and countless other destinations without incident. Good news was that our friends Michal & Bob Mark at nearby Neveh Shalom/Wahat al Salaam had only just met a young furniture designer who also builds guitars, and so my new best friend Essi managed to perform the miraculous re-attachment surgery — literally overnight — to get us back on the road without missing a beat. And he refused to accept payment for his work! And then after a coupla months Delta acknowledged its culpability and coughed up a reasonable balm for my anguish, thereby also avoiding public embarrassment on YouTube from my already half-composed Delta Blues. “Yes,” they said, “we’re aware of the United Breaks Guitars viral video on YouTube.” Case closed (and guitar safely stowed within). Speaking of YouTube, you can go there to see & hear highlights from several of our performances that included some Bedouin and Arab schools, the African Refugee Center & the Arab-Jewish Center in Yaffo. Also the Folk Clubs in Karmiel, Tel Aviv and Kibbutz Tzora, as well as the Jacobs Ladder Festival on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. What’s the Hebrew word for whirlwind?

In Egypt we plied the Nile by hotel boat, communing with pharoahs and queens, mummies and monuments from Luxor to Cairo, where we pierced the darkened heart of the Second Pyramid with our presence and annoyed some camels with the same. Upon arrival we were momentarily confused when our charming guide Abdel invited us to “make chicken,” until we realized he was simply asking us to check in.

October 1st Madhumita concluded her employment at Covidien after a 2.5-year tenure, and is presently in job-seek mode. Departure gifts from Covidien have given her a modicum of breathing room in which to find a new position. We are optimistic. Alas, I never got around to proposing to Covidien — a surgical supply company — my idea for a home surgery kit, to be called (wait for it) “Suture Self.”

We drove to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and Mom’s 92nd birthday, stayed awhile, then Madhumita flew home while I drove between the snowflakes circuitously homeward via Chicago, Memphis, Little Rock, Dallas and Tulsa before turning the horse toward the barn. My legendary weather karma kept me virtually dry the whole way.

I continue to gain color and strength — and weight — as I enjoy my ongoing recovery from last year’s medical detour, and am nearly back to what we euphemistically call “normal.” Projects abound and 2011 promises to be a productive year. We wish the same for you.

With much Love from Here,
James & Madhumita