Duke Special first curator at Belfast MAC

Published Tuesday, 21 August 2012
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Belfast singer-songwriter Peter Wilson, better known as Duke Special is taking part in a unique festival as the first guest curator of the new arts centre The MAC.

Duke Special first curator at Belfast MAC
Duke Special has chosen all the acts for the five day festival. (© UTV)

The artist has curated a special five day festival, which will showcase an array of local and national talent entitled 'In the Court of Duke Special' at the beginning of September.

He is well known for his imagination and eccentricity in his music and this shows in his choices for the arts festival, which includes a wish list of artists that Duke Special would like to see or felt a personal connection with.

The week of events features live shows by The Futureheads, Three Bonzos and a Piano, The Blockheads, Joe Black and Nanu Nanu, Cathy Davey, DJ78, a wine tasting evening accompanied by music and film, Johanna Billing and many more exciting acts.

Duke Special spoke to UTV ahead of the festival to explain how he put together this very personal event.

"The remit given to me was that I could design a programme for the week that would kind of reflect my own personality and maybe inspirations that (these) artists have been to me over the years," he said.

"I thought back to some of the formative influences such as the Blockheads or the Three Bonzos and a Piano.

"Others were maybe things I've come across on my travels such as Cathy Davey, with her songs that scare children, Nanu Nanu and Joe Black."

It's showing different facets of my personality and musical personality.

Duke Special

The singer was confident his offering would have something for everyone despite it being such an individual programme.

"My own personal tastes are quite eclectic anyway, when I heard about The Futureheads doing the acapella record, I thought that would be a really interesting band to bring because it's not what they normally do. It's normally guitars, drum, bass but this is a really different version.

"So you've got that on one hand and Nanu Nanu, Joe Black on the other. So there's quite an extreme of musical tastes and also different events such as the wine tasting with Marek.

He explained: "His daughter is Marketa Irglova who won the Oscar in the film Onceand he's a promoter in the Czech Republic. We had an idea of showing clips from movies where people are drinking wine, and he used to own a wine shop so he's very knowledgeable so he would explain about the wine that's being drunk (in the clips) and then the audience will be served the wine while some Moravian musicians play in the background."

"Every single event in the programme is going to be really entertaining whether you have heard of the thing before or not."

The artist praised the organisers of the arts centre for their innovative use of the venue.

"That anarchic spirit is at the heart of the Mac as well, the fact that they approached me with this idea, I think shows their determination for this space to be more than exclusive thing, or a high brow kind of art, but that is something available to everyone in Northern Ireland.

'In the Court of Duke Special' runs from 4-9 September at the MAC.

© UTV News
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