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.