Susie Burke & David Surette
Presented by notloB Music at Loring-Greenough House
January 21, 2012
Susie Burke and David Surette have made a name for themselves as one of the finest acts on the lively New England folk scene. Together since 1988, Susie and David have built a steady following for their own blend of contemporary, traditional, and original folk and acoustic music.
Burke's vocal style is at once stunning and heartfelt, and is matched by Surette's fluid fretwork. Both are well-respected within the folk music community, as is demonstrated by the fact that they have appeared as backing musicians on numerous recordings. Many of these have come out of the New Hampshire Seacoast area, where Susie and David are based, and which has a well-deserved reputation as a haven for folk and acoustic music. Susie Burke has been singing on Seacoast stages since the early 80s, as a soloist, a member of several local bands, and in several duos, including one with guitar whiz Harvey Reid. Her musical tastes and influences are varied and many, encompassing contemporary and traditional folk, swing, country, topical songs, and acapella singing, with detours along the way for Broadway showtunes and classic ballads. "She posesses one of the finest, purest ballad sopranos heard in folk music today" writes Scott Alarik in the Boston Globe, noting that "her phrasing is unerringly devoted to the lyric" and that "Burke displays a gift for pulling honest emotional chords - all too rare in these clever and cynical times." Before devoting her energies to music full-time, Burke worked as a day-care teacher, and her love of kids is evident in her wonderful participatory children's concerts.
David Surette has been performing in the Seacoast area since the mid-80s, both with Susie and with a number of other groups and musicians. He is well-known as a top-notch accompanist in New England's contra dance and Celtic music circles, and is also in demand as a studio musician. As a multi-instrumentalist, David brings a variety of stringed sounds to the duo; Folk Roots magazine notes that his "bouzouki, guitar, and mandolin playing is exemplary." In addition to performing and recording, Surette maintains an active teaching schedule, and is head of the folk department at the Concord (NH) Community Music School. He was awarded an NEA travel grant in 1994 to study the traditional music of Brittany, France, and has written a book of Celtic guitar arrangements for Mel Bay Music. Recipients of Individual Artist Fellowship awards from the NH State Council on the Arts in 1993, Susie and David are also on the Council's Touring Arts roster. They have released five albums since 1990 on the Madrina Music label, to positive response from both critics and audiences. Their latest recording, a duo effort titled Sometimes in the Evening, was released in early 2000. Together, they bring skill, taste, feeling, and pure enjoyment to their music, and are bringing their music to an ever-widening circle of listeners.