The eminent Belfast poet Michael Longley was once described by his friend Seamus Heaney as ‘a keeper of the artistic estate, a custodian of griefs and wonders’. Duke Special’s new studio album Hallow is entirely based on the poetry of Longley, full of gentleness, honesty, mischief and love, and peppered with a cast of artists, animals, flowers, friends and long forgotten soldiers. As ever, Duke Special is mining a new seam of inspiration, always trying to get to the bottom of what it means to be human.
Commissioned by the Strollers Touring Network, Duke Special performs here on Saturday 28 October. His new album, Hallow, is out this Friday.
By nature Duke Special is a curious person. He is curious about theatre, books, music, poetry, art, love, life, redemption, death, 78RPM records and most recently, gardening! All of this is evidenced by his releases which are a map of his passions. These days recording a new album is a tricky enough endeavour and many artists are reliant on their fans to collaborate with them in order to make a new recording happen. Duke has been writing for the past year and has just recently started recording Hallow, but is now asking his fans to pre-order Hallow in order to fund the last bit of the process.
Duke has set up a website called Advocate (www.advocateduke.com) where fans can pre-order the album in their preferred format: CD, vinyl or digital download. There will be a limited run of exclusive signed and numbered CD and vinyl releases which are only available on pre-order.
Every pre-order on all formats will include a special ADVOCATE PASS which will give you access to exclusive content online through the Advocate website. This will range from behind-the-scenes videos of the recording process and video messages from Duke on how the album is progressing, to snippets of demos and exclusive previews of Hallow.
Fans can see ‘Hallow’ being performed live on Duke Special’s October tour, commissioned by The Strollers Touring Network and he has just added new dates in February 2018 in Belfast, London & Dublin. (Dates and venues below. Check venue websites for ticket details.)
Duke says, ‘I genuinely hope that these songs will speak to you, inspire, comfort, challenge, provoke, make you cry, make you smile, make you wonder and all the things that good art should do.’