Duke Special (aka Belfast’s Peter Wilson) first came to the attention of First Column Management when he supported Aqualung on a UK tour in 2004.
Impressed by his accomplished performance and stunning voice (and the amount of EPs he was shifting every night), Phil Nelson kept a keen eye on his career and when the chance arose, he couldn’t resist the opportunity to work with this unique and intriguing artist.
Duke soon signed to V2 Records and released his debut album, ‘Songs From The Deep Forest’, to critical acclaim in 2006. Since then, he has released many albums and EPs and has been involved in a diverse array of projects. From writing the music for Deborah Warner’s 2009 production of ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ at The National Theatre to composing a series of original songs based on photographs in an exhibition of Stieglitz, Steichen and Strand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, his musical path has been a varied and unpredictable one.
In the world of theatre, since Mother Courage, Duke has written music for four shows with writer and comedian Andrew Doyle (‘Gulliver’s Travels’, ‘Paperboy’, ‘Huckleberry Finn’ and ‘Breadboy’) and with Bob Kelly, ‘Breakfast on Pluto’ (to be premiered at the Galway International Arts Festival in 2022).
Performing live is still one of Duke Special’s main passions, and over the years he has played to captive audiences across the world, often with long-time friend and percussionist Chip Bailey. Together they recently presented Duke Special’s Gramophone Club live online – think the Goon Show meets Tom Waits, taming lions in a Victorian parlour!
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