Published: 09/06/2014 18:00 - Updated: 10/06/2014 12:36

Duke Special's North dates

Duke Special will tour the North.
Duke Special will tour the North.

BELFAST singer songwriter Duke Special calls his music "hobo chic" and it’s back in the Highlands with a tour planned for August.

Duke Special aka Peter Wilson appeared up here last year almost 10 years after his last appearance in Inverness.

But as well as proving prolific with the number of albums and projects he has produced in that time, his work has included writing the theme for the Northern Irish version of Sesame Street – Sesame Tree – and being on the show.

He has been invited to the Metropolitan Museum in New York in 2011 to create a suite of music to accompany the work of pioneering photographers – the CD’s calledUnder The Dark Cloth.

He has written the music – and appeared in – a 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage And Her Children at London’s National Theatre.

And anyone seeing a resemblance in his dreadlock and eyeliner style to Australian stand up and musician Tim Minchin should know the two HAVE been seen on the same stage together.

"Yes! He came and guested with me in a show in Belfast in 2009 – and you can see it on YouTube. He’s a great guy."

As Duke Special, Peter is dynamic, musically-ambitious and a specialist in "bruised romanticism" with a sense of the vaudeville about his performance plus singalongs and addictive melodies.

In 2010 Peter released a three CD box-set, The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen.

This box-set included a five-track EP called Huckleberry Finn, the first-ever recording of an unfinished musical written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson based on the Mark Twain classic. Plus there was the album The Silent World of Hector Mann, featuring 12 songs based on The Book Of Illusions by American writer Paul Auster.

There’s a sense of theatre in Duke Special performances.

"I so loved seeing bands – the way they interact, the chemistry between them and that drama – that I racked my brains thinking ‘how can I do that with just a piano?’

"I had a lot of influences, some from music hall, American comedian Andy Kaufman – seeing him perform – and Tom Waits, so many examples of people not just singing songs about their feelings.

"There’s a story being told onstage and you buy into that world.

"I really like that notion in a concert."

Duke Special will go to: The Woodlands Centre, Stornoway, on Friday, August 1; The Ceilidh Place, Ullapool, on Saturday, August 2; at Inverness Ironworks on Sunday, August 3 and on Monday, August 4 at The Old Bridge Inn, Aviemore.

Tickets for the Highland dates go on sale tomorrow/today (Friday) at 10am available from: Web: www.ticketmaster.co.uk, www.beyondhighlands.com, Phone: 0844 844 0444. In person: An Lanntair (Stornoway), Ceilidh Place (Ullapool), Ironworks (Inverness) and The Old Bridge Inn (Aviemore).

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