New Hampshire Theatre Project’s Seacoast Sessions continue on March 10 with Susie Burke & David Surette. Hosted by Kathleen Somssich of WSCA Radio, Seacoast Sessions is a series afternoon concerts and conversations with beloved seacoast musicians.
Together since 1988, Susie Burke and David Surette 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 and have appeared as backing musicians on numerous recordings. 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 critically acclaimed albums since 1990 on the Madrina Music label, and their latest recording Waiting for the Sun was released in 2015. Together, they bring skill, taste, feeling, and pure enjoyment to their music, and are bringing their music to an ever-widening circle of listeners.
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 encompass contemporary and traditional folk, swing, country, topical songs, and a capella singing, with detours along the way for Broadway showtunes and classic ballads. “Susie Burke possesses 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.
On March 10, Kathleen Somssich will talk with Susie and David about their wide range of musical interests as well the joys and challenges of raising a family while working as professional musicians.
Future Seacoast Sessions concerts will feature Ben Baldwin & Kent Allyn (April 7) and Cosy Sheridan (May 19).
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