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Jeff Burke Feted at Burkenstock

Jeff Burke -the bassoonist to end all bassoonistsis - is finally getting the recognition he deserves with a performance aptlly named Burkenstock - being held in his honour this Monday at the Lula Lounge.

Often seen and heard on the Northbound platform of the Yonge-Bloor subway station, Burke has played with numerous bands including The Shadowpuppets, Sun Ra Arkestra, and the Subtonic Monks. He also has played accompaniment for dancers from a variety of genres from contra to Renaissance to Middle Eastern belly dancing.

He has even been known to play and Morris dance at the same time.

A man obsessed with music in 5/8 time, Burke's versatility is renown. A classic tale of this is the time I joined him on the aforementioned subway station,which for Burke is as much community centre as it is open stage - everybody come there to chat with him. Burke decided to play his Music Game which consists of his playing music on his bassoon to suit the people walking by. A four year old child walks by with his mother and Burke plays the theme from Sesame Street. Later a guy in a leather jacket walks up the platform and stops mid-step -- he has just clued in to the fact that Burke is playing a METALLICA tune behind him.

But most heartwrenching is when an elderly gentleman of Korean descent walks by Burke with the aid of a cane. Burke immediately changes the music to something I do not recognise at all and the seemly stoic man bursts into tears. In answer to my puzzled look, he smiles shyly, "Oh, that's an old Korean folk song, " he says, "It's kinda like a national anthem over there."

Burkenstock is being held at the Lula Lounge (1585 Dundas St. West, west of Dufferin) on Monday, May 1st. The line-up includes Bob Wiseman, the Subtonic Monks, Friendly Rich & The Lollipop People, Belladonna & The Awakening and of course, Burke himself. Doors open at 7:30pm with the show starting at 8:30pm. Admission $7, Dinner reservations guarantee best seating.

[photo courtesy of Jeff Burke]


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