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Kevin Burke

Biography

Musicians of London: (Courtesy The Knotted Chord Archive, 2002).

Kevin Burke. Fiddle.

Born in London of Irish parents from Co. Sligo Kevin started playing classical fiddle at age 8. The fiddle music of Michael Coleman, James Morrisson and Paddy Killoran, ‘78s recorded in the 1920’s and ‘30’s, was played in the house and had a real impact on the young Burke. As a teenager in 1960’s London he had access to the thriving session scene of the Irish emigrants. He was able to meet musicians like Bobby Casey, Brendan McGlinchey and Mairtin Byrnes who each introduced him to alternative fiddle styles. Kevin played with Clare flute player PJ Crotty in late 1960’s early 1970s which included a 6 month stint with the Danish national theatre. He also played with some small groups in London called "Lazy Reel" and "The Peelers".

In 1972 Arlo Guthrie, after meeting and playing with him in Ireland, invited Kevin to the United States to play on his album "Last of the Brooklyn cowboys". While there he recorded his first solo album "Sweeney’s Dream"(Folkways/Ossian) which was released in 1973.

After that Kevin returned to Ireland to initially play with Christy Moore’s band. He joined the Bothy Band in 1976, replacing Tommy Peoples, where he stayed until their demise in 1979. He was involved in five of the Bothy Band recordings.

He was later to make two duet albums with fellow Bothy member Micheal O’Domhnaill; "Promenade" in 1979 and "Portland" in 1982. Portland, Oregon in the United States was his home at this stage. "Promenade" actually won the "grand prix du disque" at the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival.

In between, in 1981, he recorded an album with Jackie Daly called "Eavesdropper".

His next solo album was "If the cap fits", followed in turn by "Up Close" in 1984 which featured Joe Burke and Matt Molloy.

Kevin is a founder member of the band Patrick Street which was formed in 1986 with Jackie Daly, Andy Irvine and Arty McGlynn(later followed by Gerry O’Beirne and currently Ged Foley). They have made 8 albums including a best of called "Compendium" and continue to tour.

Kevin also formed a group called Open House in the 1990’s who explored different kinds of music as well as Irish, including Apalacian, East European and Jazz. They recorded three well regarded albums on the Green Linnet label.

In more recent times Kevin has involved himself with the Celtic Fiddle Festival which teamed him with Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham and French fiddler Christian Lemaitre. They have made 2 cd’s. He has also worked with Christy Moore and Kate Bush and appears on several compilations.

Kevin’s last solo recording is "In Concert"(Green Linnet) which also features Martin Hayes.



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