Kevin Burke (born 1950) is an Irish master fiddler considered one of the finest living Irish fiddlers.For nearly four decades he has been at the forefront of Irish traditional music and Celtic music, performing and recording with the groups The Bothy Band, Patrick Street, and the Celtic Fiddle Festival. He is a 2002 recipient of a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Burke’s fiddle playing style was heavily influenced by the Sligo style playing of Michael Coleman, Paddy Killoran, and James Morrison. Burke described the style as being “the best of both worlds”—combining the driving rhythm of Donegal style and the smooth lyricism of Clare style.While acknowledging that his playing is “based on” the Sligo style, he also acknowledges being influenced by many different musical styles outside of Irish traditional music. For example, one of the distinctive features of his playing is the “strong backbeat he applies to many reels, with emphasis on every third quaver”, presenting the emphasised beat with an up bow, versus the traditional approach of playing that pattern with an emphasised downbow, Burke also emphasises the strong beat by playing “an adjacent open string as the bow digs in”.