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”.
Kevin Burke’s fiddle playing has been at the forefront of traditional music for over 30 years. He has been established as a first class musician ever since his work in the early 1970’s (with such renowned performers as Arlo Guthrie, Christy Moore and the Bothy Band and with his far-reaching solo album, “If the Cap Fits”). During his long musical career Kevin has earned international acclaim in both Europe and America as a solo performer, a teacher and as a member of some of folk music’s foremost groups including the exciting Celtic Fiddle Festival and Ireland’s long admired and respected Patrick Street.
Kevin’s contribution to music was acknowledged by The National Endowment for the Arts when he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship, the USA’s highest honor for excellence in the folk and traditional arts. Previous National Heritage Fellows include B.B. King, Doc Watson, and Bill Monroe.
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 Grammy winner 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.
Whether solo or accompanied, on record or in concert, Burke is an immensely engaging performer.