A note on ‘A Note Let Go’

A Note Let Go

Anyone who knows me well knows that I like my music. I don’t have a particular taste but I do tend to lean more towards the chilled out and laid back genres.

The mothership was also a great lover of music and two of her favourite artists were Christie Hennessy and Duke Special. Christie Hennessy sadly passed away on the 11th December 2007 and I am not sure that my mother ever fully recovered.

I can’t remember her first introduction to Duke Special, but my sister thinks it may have either been through the postman and their daily chats about music, or perhaps through Gerry Anderson and his radio show. Regardless of their introduction, the Duke was music to my mothers ears and she would tell anyone who would listen how great he was.

Luckily for the Mothership my Sister liked him too and she would take my Mum to some of the venues at which he played. The dear old Fathership got dragged along too sometimes, and considering it was not his thing at all, he too seemed to enjoy the shows.

Although I listened to the music on many occasions as my Mum danced around the living room, I never branched out to listen on my own or ventured to any of the shows.

Recently Duke Special teamed up with a band called Ulaid and their collaborative album ‘A Note Let Go’ was the result. My sister on hearing they were going to be playing a show in Belfast asked if I would like to go and much to her shock I said yes. It was time to see what all the fuss was about.

‘The Duncairn’ situated on the Antrim Road in Belfast is an old 19th century church that has been transformed into a shared space culture and arts centre. It is an intimate little venue with wonderful acoustics that enhance the music being played within and to me it felt like the perfect setting for this show.

I’d only had a brief listen to ‘A Note Let Go’ prior to attending, and I was worried that my lack of knowledge would somehow affect my enjoyment, but I needn’t have worried.

Duke Special has a way of drawing you in with his words and arrangements. During the show he led into songs with a story about where the inspiration for each came from, seemingly more often than not from text found in the Central Library in Belfast. Those same lyrics coupled with the traditional Irish music of Ulaid make for interesting listening. and believe me, there was plenty of top tapping and hand clapping during ‘Far Set’ and ‘Little Italy’ and also some tugging of the heartstrings when they played ‘Shipyards of Belfast’ and ‘My Lagan Love’, not to mention the poor dearly departed Dog Fido.

This show was a genuine surprise, I enjoyed it more than I thought I would and it has left me wanting to experience more of what both Duke Special and Ulaid have to offer, whether that be separately or together.

Trust me ‘A Note Let Go’ is well worth a listen, you won’t be disappointed. My personal favourites are Far Set and My Lagan Love, which gives me goosebumps every time I listen.

7 thoughts on “A note on ‘A Note Let Go’

  1. I don’t have Spotify, so I just was able to listen to small slices of each song you put up here.

    I agree Far Set is nice, but El Garrotin, Little Italy and A Poet’s Mission had similar beats, though the Poet song is slower. All of those pieces would make great music for a (Irish) barn dance/square dance party. Burn the Sun was probably the least enticing from the clip, but I suspect it gets better once you get a fuller flavor of the piece. Some if not all of the other songs are slower and heavier, almost depressing.

    I can’t say I enjoy the Duke’s vocals much. [And, I find the band’s name slightly amusing. 🙂 ] Together, there is a talent similar to that of the Corrs but with a more subtle masculine influence. I cannot see myself listening to any of this album casually, but I definitely wouldn’t mind playing the livelier songs while sharing the kitchen with a fellow cook. It would make find teamwork music.

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    • Spotify is great, it’s a good way to find new music. Yes I agree, it wouldn’t be fair everyone. I’m a fan of saying I prefer studio music to live, but on this occasion live was awesome.
      Just remember though, someone’s depressing can be someone else’s soothing :)

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      • I’m gonna sound like a total elderly noob, but is Spotify free or are there costs/strings attached? Is it one of those things that’s free to browse until you find something to buy? Account required to do everything? Have you tried other music search services; how do they compare?
        Live music is the same as studio music just without the machinery to tweak things and volume control. My one beef with live music is volume, including audience volume. I am not a fan of being in a crowd of strangers but especially if my ears are going to be blasted (as they have been even at sports events).
        I am not exactly one of those people who screams to get an autograph or swag, either. I’d rather get a date with or contact info from a lovely musician/performer. 🙂 What am I going to do with the other stuff? Sell it? It feels more precious when it comes from someone I genuinely get to know and connect with, not just something handed out to everyone who can make it to the one doing the signing.
        If I see the Corrs live, I will only swoon if I am close enough to see their faces and not lose my hearing…which seems unlikely in a concert setting. And, even then, if the ladies are married or otherwise engaged, I care less to be there. 😛 hehe Music is a powerful and dangerous drug.
        Hey, I get it but don’t get it. If it soothes you, great. But, if you are being soothed in a room I share only for me to feel depressed or some other negative state, I either have to say something or leave.

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      • Spotify can be either, free or premium. With free you cannot skip songs and there are adverts that play intermittently. I chose to go premium because I can make playlists and download them to listen offline.
        For groups like this though that I like I always buy the album, it supports the artists.
        As I mentioned in my post this was more of an intimate gig, not over crowded, not blasting loud and with a nice crowd :)

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      • Sounds typically annoying. I have a hard time signing up/paying for these online services to do just about everything. I get it that everyone needs to be paid for their work, though what constitutes as work has apparently changed to include what a computer system likely does on its own. And, maybe I am just spoiled by certain internet “luxuries” of recent past. But, we also invest in these computer devices that ought to come with SOME features paid for that work just as nicely and don’t require a monthly fee. It seems like the more time passes, the fewer perks come with the machine and the more memberships and fees we are cattle-prodded to dish out.
        Well, I’d imagine a gig in such a place as you described couldn’t be TOO big (of a crowd). And, maybe this artist team isn’t as big as some; maybe they’re just a local troop like something I’d see at the state fair or other seasonal festivals in some of our more artsy fartsy neighborhoods. …But even those local concert venues often have the music so loud that I would rather keep my distance, even if there’s only maybe 15 people standing around to listen at a time. My ears are rather sensitive.

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