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Kevin Burke: In Concert

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Album Review

Maybe the prospect of listening to almost an hour's worth of solo Irish fiddle doesn't sound that exciting to you. That's understandable. Most non-fiddlers would probably feel the same way. Let's give Kevin Burke's live solo album a try, though: listen to the opening number, a modal slip jig called "The Butterfly" (which I believe is also known by the less diplomatic name "Skin the Peelers"); notice how he plays with the rhythm, hesitating in unexpected places while never losing the thread of the tune, spinning the whole thing out like some kind of mournful dance. Then hang on while the applause dies down, and listen to him swing into "Bonnie Kate," an utterly joyful and footloose reel. Hear him pounding out those backbeats? Don't you feel like you've just been forgiven of all your sins? Elsewhere he welcomes fellow fiddler Martin Hayes on stage for several duets and on a couple of tunes he's accompanied by guitarist Aidan Brennan. All of it is marvelous.


Born: 1950 in London, England

Genre: World

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Kevin Burke is a master of the highly ornamental Sligo style of Irish fiddling. A former member of the Bothy Band, Patrick Street and a duo he shared with Irish guitarist Michael O'Domhnaill, Burke has also performed as a soloist and with his own band, Open House. A native of London, England, Burke inherited his love of Irish music from his parents who had emigrated from Sligo County, Ireland. His music career began shortly after moving to Ireland in 1974, when he teamed up with singer-songwriter...
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