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 Christy Moore. who had just left the influential Irish trad-rock band Planxty. Replacing Tommy Peoples in the Bothy Band in 1976, he remained with the group until 1979 and was featured on three of their albums -- Old Hag You Have Killed Me, After Hours (Live in Paris) and Out of the Wind, Into the Sun.
When the Bothy Band seperated, Burke emigrated to Portland, Oregon. In addition to making a guest appearance on Arlo Guthrie's album, Washington County, he joined the Bothy Band's guitarist Michael O'Domhnaill for several tours and two albums -- Promenade and Portland -- as a duo. An early-1980s tour, Legends of Irish Music, brought Burke together with influential Irish musicians Andy Irvine (vocals, bouzouki, mandolin and harmonica) and Jackie Daly (accordion). Following the tour, they continued to perform together as Patrick Street.
Recording a solo album, Open House, in 1992, Burke assembled the musicians -- Mark Graham (harmonica, clarinet, vocals), Paul Kotopish (guitar, mandolin, cittern, bass) and Sandy Silva (percussion) -- who became his current band.
In 1992 and 1997, Burke toured and recorded with Scottish fiddler Johnny Cunningham and Breton fiddler Christian Lemaitre as the "Celtic Fiddle Festival." Burke has also recorded three instruction tapes for Homespun Tapes and Videos -- Music Instruction -- Fiddle, Twenty Irish Fiddle Tunes and Learn to Play Irish Fiddle. In Concert, his first solo recording in 15 years, followed in 1999. Sweeney's Dream was the follow up, released in early 2001. ~ Craig Harris