- 22 Feb 21
"His legacy, not only the great archive of his music but also the love for music that he kindled among countless young musicians, will continue to inspire," the President said.
President Michael D. Higgins is among those who have paid tribute to acclaimed traditional musician Joe Burke, who has died, aged 81.
The master accordion player died on Saturday, in Galway Hospice. Over the course of his remarkable career, he helped to spark a revival of interest in the instrument – and played in renowned venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall in New York and the Royal Albert Hall in London.
"The news of the death of Joe Burke, distinguished and influential accordion player, will have saddened countless music lovers and fans of traditional Irish music, at home in Ireland and much further afield," the President said, in a statement shared on Twitter. "His legacy, not only the great archive of his music but also the love for music that he kindled among countless young musicians, will continue to inspire.
"Sabina and I send our condolences to Ann Conroy Burke, to his family and friends, and to all those whose hearts he touched.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin described him as a "truly gifted master accordion player".
I'm so sorry to hear of the passing of the truly gifted master accordion player, Joe Burke.
My thoughts are with his family and friends. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam. https://t.co/Mr6EEvNyml
— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) February 21, 2021
See more tributes to Joe Burke below:
Irish music has its legends..then there is Joe Burke. I really enjoyed hearing Joes voice this week on @TheRollingWave .. a beautiful episode about the passing on of precious old recordings. His presence was always mighty at every festival I can remember as a boy. RIP Joe
— Barry Kerr (@BarryKerr1) February 20, 2021
Difficult to put into words how devastated I am to hear of the death of my teacher, my mentor, my inspiration and above all my great friend Joe Burke. I’ll cherish every moment I spent in his company. I’ll miss it all. Joe was my was a role model, my mentor, and my great friend. pic.twitter.com/qDxilM9zDV
— Daithí Gormley (@Sligoboxmusic) February 21, 2021
Rest in peace Joe Burke; one of our greatest ever button accordion players. He leaves a rich legacy of his recorded music and a whole generation of players who followed his trail @DeptCulturelRL @TheRollingWave https://t.co/Cn6bl8iNUl
— Malcolm Noonan T.D. (@noonan_malcolm) February 21, 2021
Jaysus, Mary and Joe Burke. Rest in Peace Joe and thank you for the music. pic.twitter.com/drdWSOvQCS
— Katie Theasby Music (@katietheasby) February 20, 2021
We’re greatly saddened to hear of the passing of Joe Burke. An iconic leader in Irish traditional music for many decades, he was a pioneering accordion player and a hugely entertaining and engaging person. Our condolences to Anne and the extended Burke family. Rest in peace Joe.
— Kieran Hanrahan (@RTECeiliHouse) February 21, 2021
Joe Burke ❤️ pic.twitter.com/ZvCwA27iZ4
— TG4TV (@TG4TV) February 21, 2021
Joe also did the honour of opening the 46th SSWC in 2018, these words pay tribute to the fine musician Joe Burke was - https://t.co/CGRSNYYV7U
Our sincere condolences to Ann, family family and many friends from all at @sswillieclancy
Ar dheis dé go raibh a anam
— SSWillieClancy (@ss_willieclancy) February 21, 2021
The world of Irish traditional music is in mourning with the sad news of the passing of the legend Joe Burke Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam uasal ceolmhar. pic.twitter.com/Lm01wh0Dpj
— Máire Ní Chaoimh (@okeeffefiddle) February 21, 2021
In 2017 I visited the @WardIrishMusic archive, one of the world’s finest collections of Irish music. I was particularly moved to see this portrait of East Galway’s Joe Burke taking pride of place. Joe passed away today. He has left an extraordinary legacy. May he rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/fDxYpy0xnA
— Ciaran Cannon (@ciarancannon) February 20, 2021
The Patrick O'Keeffe Festival is deeply saddened to learn tonight of the passing of Joe Burke. A giant of the tradition, a genius and a gentleman. We were privileged to have Joe play at the festival many moons ago. We extend our sympathies to all his family and friends. RIP pic.twitter.com/mvMTBBg4qg
— Patrick O'Keeffe Traditional Music Festival (@OTraditional) February 20, 2021
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Joe Burke (1939-2021), true legend of accordion playing, whose influence has been felt so strongly in traditional Irish music circles and beyond for over six decades. We extend our sincere sympathies to Joe's wife Ann, his family and friends. pic.twitter.com/JKQ4c8ivJs
— Trad Ireland / Traid Éireann (@tradireland) February 21, 2021