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Duncan Park pic 2From the valleys of rural Limpopo Province, to the gutters of Grahamstown, and now the sunny coastline of KwaZulu, comes Duncan Park. An unconventional musician to say the least.

Lyrically, when advised to write a love song, he penned “My Silkworms Exploded” and “Psychedelic Potato” (the names speak for themselves). When told to refine his style to reach a broader audience, he delved deep into the guts of dirty delta blues storytelling (with, perhaps, a dash of colourful psych-folk imagery).

Whilst listening to the bluesy lament of his song “Celestial Shores”, one may notice the lyrics are actually a request to God himself – Duncan arguing that surely the fact that he quit cigarettes qualifies him for a spot in heaven. Then there’s an entire (self-released) album which is an earthy, soulful meditation about a fictional creature (called The Croyfish) crawling from Park’s cavernous imagination.

However, his intrigue lies not only in his quirky, humorous, yet provocative lyrics, but also in his dextrous, arachnoid style of guitar and charango playing. Whilst his songs may at times be strummed simply, giving the lyrics space to breathe, they can also reach claustrophobic climaxes of explosive finger picking and fretboard acrobatics.

When listening to him play, one is deeply moved by the complexity and perfection in the construction of Park’s songs. At times understated. At times violent acoustic eruptions. Songs that take the listener on a journey through this man’s chaotic, creative and hyperactive imagination. (Or is this his real life?)

Clearly rooted in the American Delta Blues, but undoubtedly flecked with other musical characteristics like 1960s British Acid Folk, Psychedelic Pop and even Country Music, Duncan Park has managed to invent a sound and style of his own.

Although the path he has taken for his musical journey may not be the most “marketable”, the experience of hearing this man’s music, listening to him tell his stories and seeing him perform live is a unique and unforgettable experience. He is undoubtedly talented as a performer. His songs are remarkably well written, and given their bizarre nature, strangely accessible.

So if you ever get the chance to see him play, sit back, listen, and prepare yourself for a musical adventure the likes of which you will never experience again.

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