Arts & Culture

Common Fence Music to hold workshop with Irish fiddler master Kevin Burke

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. — Common Fence Music will present Irish fiddle master Kevin Burke in concert in September.

The performance will be held Saturday, Sept. 16, at 8 p.m. Doors will open at 7 p.m. The concert will take place at Common Fence Point Hall, 933 Anthony Road, Portsmouth, RI.

Tickets to the show are $25 in advance, $28 at the door.

The performance will be preceded by an Irish fiddle workshop, led by Kevin Burke, at Common Fence Point Hall from 4 to 5:30 p.m.

Tickets to the workshop are $15 in advance and at the door. The workshop is sponsored by Aidan’s Pub in Bristol.

Tickets and information may be obtained at, or at by searching Common Fence Music. Tickets will also be available for purchase at the door. 

Irish fiddle master Kevin Burke will open Common Fence Music’s 25th anniversary Portsmouth series at Common Fence Point Hall.

His fiddle playing has been at the forefront of traditional music since the early 1970’s. His work with such renowned performers as Arlo Guthrie, Christy Moore and the Bothy Band – as well as the release of his far-reaching solo album, If the Cap Fits – established him as a first-class musician.  

Burke later went on to form the group Patrick Street, and trio Celtic Fiddle Festival with Johnny Cunningham and Christian Lemaitre, while also becoming a featured member of Tim O’Brien’s “crossover” band, The Crossing. Though having 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. 

Burke’s contribution to music has been acknowledged formally on both sides of the Atlantic. In 2002, he was the recipient of an NEA National Heritage Fellowship, the United States’ highest honor for excellence in the folk and traditional arts. (Previous National Heritage Fellows include B.B. King, Doc Watson, and Bill Monroe.)

In 2010, Kevin was inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame and was very honored to receive such an accolade from his adopted home state. In 2016, he was named Ireland’s “Gradam Ceoil” winner (Traditional Musician of the Year).

In 2007, Burke set up his own record label, Loftus Music, which has already developed a reputation for excellence in both its musical output and its somewhat unique and eco-friendly packaging design. He has also taught throughout his career and enjoys helping young musicians develop their talents.

This 90-minute workshop sponsored by Aidan’s Pub will be full of conversation and demonstrations of the many aspects of Irish fiddle music.

In addition to their fiddles, participants are invited to bring along all those questions they’ve always wanted to ask, both specific and general – anything from bowing to ornaments, rhythms to the repertoire, practicing to performing. Burke will help all participants improve their playing and knowledge of the music, and maybe even learn a learn a new tune!

Per tradition, all shows at CFM’s Portsmouth venue are BYOB & Picnic. Concert-goers are invited to bring food and beverages to enjoy during the performances. 

Seasonal soups, homemade refreshments and soft-drinks will also be available for purchase. The hall is fully accessible. Ticket prices vary.

For more information about Common Fence Music, please visit, or call (401)683-5085

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