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.
Recently he joined forces with stand-up comedian Andrew Doyle and together they brought a brand new musical adaptation of ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ to the Lyric Theatre in his native Belfast, a production created by the team behind the West End smash hit Once the Musical!
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. These can all be found at www.advocateduke.com
Duke has recently released his new album Hallow, a collection of songs based on poems by Belfast contemporary poet Michael Longley..
“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
“Emotive and endearing” – GQ
“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