Joe Burke is among the greatest exponents of traditional Irish Music.  His sheer musical brilliance, his knowledge and love of his land, its music and culture have earned him an immortal place in the history of Irish music and folklore.  His technical virtuosity is unique, but that is just part of his great artistry. Joe traces the sources and melodic forms of Irish Music back to the rhythms and cadences of Irish speech and language, and feels that they have an intimate relationship with each other. To him the music is expressive and emotional, evoking the Irish countryside and the varying humour of the people.

 From the parish of Kilnadeema in East Galway, Joe Burke is widely regarded as the master accordionist who started the huge revival of interest in the instrument.  A legend in his own time, many of the younger generation, now famous players themselves, have been inspired by his style and technique.  He has travelled all over the world, and his recordings have been widely acclaimed.  His live performances, as well as his own charm and wit have made him a favourite with all lovers of Irish music.Joe Burke gave his first public performance in November 1955.  He has been performing Irish traditional music for forty years and has made many recordings for various companies including Gael Linn, Outlet, Shanachie, Shaskeen and now records exclusively for Green Linnet Records.

      His first recordings for Gael Linn in the 50’s were released on 78rpm discs.  They turned out to be the last 78’s ever released in Europe.  His recording career has spanned five decades and all the formats from 78’s to current CD’s.  His classic solo albums have sold worldwide and the early ones are considered ‘Collectors Items’.  Apart from his solo albums Joe has recorded with many musical greats including Andy Mc Gann and Felix Dolan, Sean Maguire and Josephine Keegan, Michael Cooney and Terry Corcoran, Charlie Lennon, Frankie Gavin, Kevin Burke, Brian Conway, Noreen O’ Donoghue and Mike Rafferty.  He also recorded an album of traditional airs form Ireland on which he plays concert flute and is joined by Harpist Márie Ni Chathsaigh.  Joe Burke’s music has taken him from county halls and pubs in rural Ireland to the most prestigious Concert Halls worldwide.  He has performed solo at Carnagie Hall, New York; The royal Albert Hall, London; Unuesque Hall, Paris and the great American Musical Hall, San Francisco.

     He has played at all the major festivals at home and abroad and has given Master Classes and Workshops on the accordion from Drumshambo Co. Leitrim, Ireland to Paris, France, to Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. and as far afield as the logging and fishing towns in Alaska.  His trips and music classes in Paris (early eighties), and his association with some of the great French players has influenced musicians such as Mark Perone to expand his repertoire and include Irish traditional music in many of his performances.


v     Senior All-Ireland Accordion Champion   1959 and 1960

v    Traditional musician of the Year RTE Irish Television 1970

v    Represented Ireland at World Accordion festival held in     Montmagny, Quebec, Canada 1989

v    Hosted his own Radio Show entitled ‘Ireland in America’ on     station KDHX St Louis Missouri 1989 to 1991

v    Represented Ireland in ‘Accordions That Shook The World’     tour 1992

v    ‘Hall of Fame’ award Rostrevor, Co. Down. 1990

v    ‘Lifetime Achievement’ award ‘Irish World’ newspaper      London.  1997

v    ‘Honorary Member’ award National Association of Accordion     and Fiddle Clubs, Scotland 1974

v    ‘Traditional Musician of the Year’ award – AIB and Galway     Chamber of Commerce 1997

v    Represented Ireland at traditional music festival     Canayyama, Japan 2001

v    Boston College Award for:

    ‘Your Exceptional Mastery and Life long Illustration of the     Music of Ireland’ 2000

v    Arranged and Performed music for ‘Old Ireland’ – a film     Depicting Rural Ireland in the mid Twentieth Century    2002


Joe Burke and his wife Anne Conroy-Burke teach Master Classes at the following venues:

v    Willie Clancy Summer School

v    South Sligo Summer School

v    Joe Mooney Summer School


Joe is also available to give lectures and talks.  Some of the titles are:

v    ‘Emigrant Musicians of the Twentieth Century’

v    ‘The Music of East Galway’

v    ‘The Accordion in Traditional Music’

v    ‘Time of Change’ Traditional Music mid Twentieth Century.

Enquiries to:  Joe Burke Kilnadeema, Loughrea, Co. Galway

Telephone: 091 842419


     The Kilnadeema Branch of CCE is privileged to have Joe Burke as patron.  This is where Joe and Anne live and continue to pass on that great musical tradition.

Joe Burke and Bill McEvoy at the launch of Kilnadeema Branch
Joe and Anne with Thomas O Baoil, Co Board Chairman and branch officers Pat Stapleton and Donal Herlihy