Duke Special: Hallow – doing justice to Belfast poet Michael Longley

Fri, Oct 6, 2017, 05:00



Duke Special


Singer / Songwriter

If the mark of a true artist is one who refuses to retread old ground, pin the medal on Duke Special’s lapel, stat. The Northern Irish musician’s back catalogue includes interpretations of Bertolt Brecht and Ruby Murray dotted amongst his more “straightforward” releases, but his ninth album sees him paying homage to Belfast poet Michael Longley. Special’s musical interpretations of his work run the rambunctious gamut from music hall pomp (A Question for Walter Mitty) to tender playfulness (Granddaughters) and more sombre fare (The Ice-Cream Man, featuring Longley’s own voice). Crucially, although the source is treated with reverence, Special burrows deep into the heart of each poem and gives it a personal touch. It may not be essential listening, but even those previously apathetic towards the dreadlocked artist’s canon will find something to admire here. dukespecial.com