Entry Requirements: Under 18's must be accompanied
“Magically uplifting” - Evening Standard
“Duke is in a world of his own” - Independent
“This is music of magic and soul” - The Telegraph
“Sumptuous, symphonic pop anthem, courtesy of dreadlocked Irishman who sounds like The Flaming Lips crossed with Rufus Wainwright” – Q
“Like fellow timeless travellers Arcade Fire and prime Van Morrison the songs favour an otherworldly orchestral arrangement” - Clash
“The duke’s cowboy-gone-vaudeville dreampop is pitched between Rufus Wainwright and The Divine Comedy” – Uncut
Many people are aware of Duke Special's platinum album ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’, and the hit song ‘Freewheel’, but many may be surprised by the cultural breadth of his other work. His creative talents have seen him involved in projects as diverse as writing the theme tune for the Irish Sesame Street to writing the music for and appearing in Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ at London’s National Theatre. He has presented a documentary on the life of '50s megastar Ruby Murray and has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to write a series of original songs based on photographs for their exhibition of the photographers Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand.
In 2016 he was appointed as the Artist In Residence at the Lyric Theatre and as part of this residency, he worked on writing a musical adaptation of Huckleberry Finn, based on songs written by Kurt Weill, which will premiere in 2018. The end of the residency was marked by 3 intimate shows at the Lyric in December, performing some of his new works and old favourites with some special guests, including Ben Castle and Barry Hyde from Futureheads.
Duke Special has also recently launched a new subscription-based fan-funding website called Advocate, where fans can sign up to gain access to a variety of exclusive packages for a monthly subscription. Packages start with an exclusive Twitter feed for £1 a month to rare live recordings, demos, interviews and fan packs full of exciting Duke memorabilia. There are also one-off purchases available including house concerts and song-writing sessions.
Duke has recently released his new album Hallow, a collection of songs based on poems by Belfast contemporary poet Michael Longley full of gentleness, honesty, mischief and love... Hallow will be released on October 7th - pre-order via www.advocateduke.com
Ticket holders can receive 15% off food for their table at our neighbourhood restaurant, Bush Hall Dining Rooms, two doors down from the venue. Please call 0208 749 0731 to reserve a table, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Duke Special is an artist aptly named. Dynamic, musically ambitious & bracingly eccentric, with his inimitable style and lush musicality. Hailing from Belfast with a sound that is self-confessed “hobo-chic”, Duke Special - AKA the endlessly inventive Peter Wilson - is once heard, never forgotten. Blissfully at home in his own alluring genre of beautifully bruised romanticism, Duke Special inhabits a world unlike any other - a world filled with vaudeville-esque sensibility, sing-a-longs and addictive melodies .
Those who know him for the platinum album “Songs from the deep forest”, including the hit song “Freewheel” and other radio mainstays like “Sweet sweet kisses” and “Last night I nearly died” may be surprised by the breadth of his work. Duke Special’s immense creative talents have seen him involved in projects as diverse as writing the theme tune for Sesame Tree (the Northern Ireland edition of Sesame Street where he also got to sing with The Muppets) to writing the music for and appearing in Deborah Warner’s critically acclaimed 2009 production of Bertolt Brecht’s Mother Courage and Her Children at London’s National Theatre. He then recorded an album of the twelve songs from the play, which was to form part of his ambitious project for 2010 - the release of a 3 CD box-set, The Stage, A Book & The Silver Screen. This box-set also included a 5-track EP called Huckleberry Finn, the first ever recording of an unfinished musical written by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson based on the Mark Twain classic, and the album The Silent World of Hector Mann, featuring 12 songs based on The Book of Illusions by contemporary American author Paul Auster.
In 2011, he presented a TV documentary for RTE in Ireland on the life and times of 50s megastar Ruby Murray. This was broadcast in January, and accompanied by 2 orchestral concerts in Dublin and Cork, showcasing Duke’s interpretations of Ruby’s songs. He also released a charity single of recordings of 3 of Duke’s favourite Ruby songs, donating all the profits to the Irish charity Depaul Ireland (www.depaulireland.org).
Also that year Duke Special was commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York for their exhibition on the photographers Stieglitz, Steichen, and Strand. He was invited to write a series of original songs based on the photographs featured in the exhibition, which he then performed at the Museum’s concert hall (and later in London, Dublin and Belfast) to a backdrop of the photographs. The songs were released on CD as “Under the dark cloth.”
Of the new album “Oh Pioneer”, Duke says "Wooden Fingers Puppet Theatre Company, The Bank of Ideas, a banned Iranian children's book about a fish, a pirate who wants to retire, a bar man who hears people's stories whether he likes it or not, the human condition and late night conversations with friends on the roof of the 'Oh Yeah' building in Belfast about your dreams are just a few of the ingredients to go into "Oh Pioneer".”