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Australian blues singer at Sounds of Spirit Lake

International blues singer Peter Harper, concludes the Sounds of Spirit Lake concert series on Aug. 11. (Submitted photo)

Peter Harper, an award-winning, international blues singer and his band, "Midwest Kind," will be in concert at the final Sounds of Spirit Lake.

The free, outdoor performance is Friday, Aug. 11 at 7 p.m. in Menahga, near the boat launch on Spirit Lake. Bring a lawn chair. The rain venue is the Menahga School.

Harper's new CD, "Show Your Love," reached No. 3 on the Billboard chart and was in the top 10 for six months. It was No. 1 in The Netherlands, No. 1 in Italy and No. 3 on the Australian Blues Charts.

Harper was inducted into the Blues Museum Hall of Fame. He has won Detroit's "Outstanding Vocalist," United Kingdom's "Best Instrumentalist," New York's "Best Live CD" and Australia's "Male Vocalist of the Year.

He received a Gold Record for "Sailing Australia" (America's Cup Theme), plus had the honor of backing blues legend "Muddy Waters" on harmonica for his West Australian tour. Harper was also invited to perform at a Royal Gala Performance for the Queen of England in Perth, Western Australia.

Harper was born in the United Kingdom but at the age of 10, his family moved half-way round the world to Perth, Western Australia. In Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world, there was a thriving blues and folk scene. Fascinated with the spirituality and culture of the American Natives, he found the same qualities present in the Australian Aborigines of his homeland.

On adding the native didgeridoo to his music, Harper says, "It is a sound I grew up with, so it seemed natural to add it to my songwriting, particularly when the lyrics related to the plight of the Aborigines in Australia. When I added the didgeridoo to the more traditional blues instruments, it worked. I also owe my life to a tribe of nomadic Australian Natives who saved my father and I from starvation when we were trapped at The Fitzroy Crossing (Western Australia), in between two fast-flowing river torrents. They gave us enough food and water to last us until the flood had subsided. I feel my music is my way of giving back to these wonderful people." Harper has since moved to Detroit where he currently resides.

Sounds of Spirit Lake is honored to have a musician of his stature close out the 2017 concert series. Organizers note that Harper is a great entertainer, even for audiences who aren't blues fans and all will enjoy his use of the world's oldest wind instrument, the digeridoo.

This concert is funded in part by the voters of Minnesota through a grant from the Five Wings Arts Council, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.

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