FRANCIS McPEAKE (1) was born in Belfast in 1885, both parents being called McPeake, his mother from Belfast and his father from County Derry where he was working as a farm labourer at Ballymcpeake. Through his interest in Irish history, he had a dream fulfilled in 1907, when a blind piper, John O Reilly, came to Belfast from Galway to teach him to play the Uillean (meaning elbow) bagpipes. After winning a number of contests in Dublin, he and harper, John Page, were invited to attend the Pan-Celtic Congress in Brussels in 1911.
FRANCIS (2), Frank's eldest son, was born in Belfast in 1917. He became interested in playing the pipes at the end of the Second World War and first played on the radio in 1949. After being recorded by Peter in 1952, he went to London with his father to perform at the Royal Albert Hall in 1956.
JAMES, born 1936, started playing fiddle at the age of 9 and piano-accordion at 12. In the late 50's Frank came across an old Minstrel Harp, made by McFall of Belfast, and James was persuaded to become the third member of the family trio.
In 1995 the tradition goes on into the fourth generation with better and better family singing, whistle-playing and Uillean piping. THE McPEAKE FAMILY are now Francie McPeake, the 3rd, performing with his two sons Francie (4) and Eugene on bouzouki. The vocalist is young Francie's wife, Paula.
The first recordings of the McPeake's by Peter Kennedy were made in their home in Belfast in 1952.
FTX-176 — THE RIGHTS OF MAN
Recorded by Peter Kennedy in 1952, the unique Francis McPEAKE, Senior and Junior, with an album of their Irish songs and Uillean pipe-music. These are the earliest recordings of this outstanding Belfast family — 8 of the songs being introduced by "Me Da" — as the son calls his father.