Kevin Burke’s fiddle playing has been at the forefront of traditional music for over 30 years. His work during the 1970’s with Arlo Guthrie, Christy Moore and the Bothy Band established him as a first class musician and brought him international acclaim in both Europe and America. He also gained recognition as an exciting soloist with his far-reaching album, “If the Cap Fits”.
By 1980 Kevin had settled in the USA and was performing with Bothy Band colleague Micheal O Domhnaill. Their 2 albums, “Promenade” and “Portland”, became, and still are, very influential resources for many traditional musicians. In 1985 Kevin was a founding member of the group, “Patrick Street”, and this band, highly successful on both sides of the Atlantic, has recently released its 10th album.
Kevin spent much of the 90’s recording and performing in a series of highly successful concert tours with Johnny Cunningham from Scotland and Christian Lemaitre from Brittany, a trio of fiddle players known as “The Celtic Fiddle Festival” and he has also become a featured member of Tim O’Brien’s wonderful ‘crossover’ band, “The Crossing”.
Although Kevin has spent much of his life playing in a group context, he has never lost his love for solo fiddle music – the “naked fiddle” as he himself sometimes puts it. This is very evident in his live solo release, “In Concert”, a performance of mostly unaccompanied traditional pieces.
In 2002, The National Endowment for the Arts invited Kevin to Washington, D.C. to receive a National Heritage Fellowship, the country’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts. Previous National Heritage Fellows include B.B. King, “Pinetop” Perkins, Doc Watson, cowboy poet Wally McRae and Bill Monroe.
2005 saw the release of “In Tandem” with Kevin and guitarist Ged Foley. This highly regarded CD was released independently, without the aid of a record company, and the experience inspired Kevin to set up his own record company “Loftus Music”. Since then Kevin has released 4 CDs on the Loftus label, the latest of which is entitled “Suite”, an exciting collaboration with Oregon arranger/composer Cal Scott. “Suite” is the company’s major release of 2010 and features appearances from the members of “Beoga” one of Ireland’s hottest young bands. One of the highlights of the CD is “The Irish Session Suite”, ten traditional tunes arranged in four movements for String Quartet.
The New York Times describes Kevin as “a superior instrumentalist in any idiom……impressively virtuosic”, the Washington Post writes of his “lyrical style that is always emotionally electric”, and the Irish Times says that “Burke’s fiddling is one of the high spots of the current Irish musical scene”.
Whether solo or accompanied, on record or in concert, Burke is an immensely engaging performer.
Instructor – Fiddle | Recipient of the Irish Artist in America Achievement Award