Duke Special

Born 4 January 1971.
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Duke Special - Freewheel (with the Ulster Orchestra)

Duke Special performs Freewheel at the Waterfront Hall accompanied by the Ulster Orchestra.

Featured in BBC Music Clips


Duke Special (born Peter Wilson) is a songwriter and performer based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. A piano-based songwriter with a romantic style and a warm, distinctly accented voice, he has distinctive long dreadlocks, eyeliner and outfits he describes as "hobo chic". His live performances have a theatrical style inspired by Vaudeville and music hall, and often incorporate 78s played on an old-fashioned gramophone, or sound effects from a transistor radio. He is most often accompanied by percussionist "Temperance Society" Chip Bailey, who plays cheese graters and egg whisks, a Stumpf fiddle and a Shruti box, as well as the more typical drums and cymbals. Other musicians who perform with Wilson from time to time include Paul Pilot (guitar), Réa Curran (trumpet, backing vocals, accordion), Ben Castle (clarinet, saxophone), Ben Hales (bass guitar), Gareth Williams, "Professor" Ger Eaton (keyboards), Dan Donnelly (mandoline, backing vocals) and Serge Archibald III (saxophone, "ethereal background sounds", vibes).

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Links & Information

BBC Reviews

  1. Review of Oh Pioneer

    Oh Pioneer 2012

    Reviewed by Mike Diver
    Duke Special doesn’t need the charts – but they could do with more artists like him.
  2. Review of The Stage, a Book and the Silver Screen

    The Stage, a Book and the Silver Screen 2010

    Reviewed by Chris White
    Fans will not be disappointed by this ambitious and impeccably produced music.
  3. Review of I Never Thought This Day Would Come

    I Never Thought This Day Would Come 2009

    Reviewed by Garth Cartwright
    Perhaps what we have here is the Irish Meatloaf.
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