Dave Burns

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It is no surprise that a musician named David Burns would show up on the Celtic scene. In fact, it is almost frightening to open this particular can of Burns, considering just how many of them there might…
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It is no surprise that a musician named David Burns would show up on the Celtic scene. In fact, it is almost frightening to open this particular can of Burns, considering just how many of them there might be. One of them is a particularly talented multi-instrumentalist associated with the great Welsh folk band called the Hennessys, despite the presence of only one person named Hennessy in the band. This David Burns has a fine hand on guitar and mandolin, sings beautifully, and at times is relegated to a tapping, rumbling role on the bodhran. His partners in the group are Frank Hennessy and Iolo Jones. Burns has also performed with Alan Stivell and Gwyndaf Roberts, among others.

The Hennesseys have created a repertoire that is a fairly equal mix of traditional songs from Wales and original material written by Frank Hennessy. Far from being a dead language, with a daily Welsh newscast available for the enjoyment of visitors, the tongue can be studied in detail through recordings involving Burns. Vocabulary can be picked up from song titles alone; for example, "Dau Rosyn Coch" means a quite romantic pair of roses, and "Ar Lan y Mô" is a great place to go: "on the sea shore." Burns and Hennessey got started on their performing careers in the mid-'60s when they triumphed in a Cardiff youth performing competition. This directly inspired their subsequent move to Ireland, where a much more thriving folk music scene allowed plenty of chance to hone chops.

Despite the heavy dominance of Irish music on the British folk scene, it was their Welsh affiliation that gave the Hennessys a chance to stand out from the rest of the strumming pack. Filling a gap, Burns and associates became increasingly in demand for broadcasts involving traditional Welsh music. Hennessey's career as an actual radio producer and presenter hasn't hurt matters, either.