In tune with world and music


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

In tune with world and music In tune with world and music

John ‘Turps’ Burke was a co-founder and key member of the Saw Doctors until he left the band in 1993. When he began dealing with the trauma of being sexually abused as a child, other doors opened for him. A quantum therapist and EFT Master, who has survived a heart attack and cancer, John now works with victims of trauma. But music remains central and he has a new album on the way, as he tells JUDY MURPHY.

“Everybody goes through the mill and we all have crosses to bear,” says John ‘Turps’ Burke, describing his own journey from trauma towards self-awareness and happiness.

John co-founded the Saw Doctors in the late 1980s with Leo Moran and Davy Carton and played a crucial role in the band’s early development and success before leaving in 1993. But he remains deeply involved with music. Following his critically acclaimed solo album Illuminate (2001), he’s now planning to release a double album, Age of Uncertainty, next April.

It’s already been recorded, with first double-A sided single having been issued two weeks ago.  The songs, Vive Le Revolution and Western Coast, are available on all streaming platforms and they augur well for the album.

Age of Uncertainty, which features a superb line-up of musicians and backing singers, was recorded in John’s studio in Tuam as well as remotely in Italy and Argentina, he explains. It was mastered by two-time Grammy winner, Andres Mayo, in Buenos Aires.

It’s the latest creative project from John who has been immersed in music since childhood and whose passion for it shines forth as he talks.

In the late 1980s when the Saw Docs were playing support to the Waterboys, he and Mike Scott of that band became friends, and John went on to sing backing vocals on How Long Will I Love You from the Waterboys’ 1990 album, Room to Roam.

Two decades later, John produced a 25th anniversary album, Friends Of The Galway Rape Crisis Centre, to promote the Centre and the fact it had a male counselling section. A lot had happened in the intervening years and it was John’s thank you to the Rape Crisis Centre and his counsellor there, Jimmy Haran.

Artists on the album included The Saw Doctors, Sharon Shannon, the Waterboys, the Stunning, Identity Parade, Máirtín O’Connor, Cathal Hayden & Séamie O’Dowd, Cora & Breda Smyth, Padraig Stevens, Don Stiffe, Stacey Nolan, Keith Mullins, Larry Beau, and The Coonics.

“It was my way of showing my gratitude and spreading the word,” says John, who was sexually abused as a young teenager.

Given his grá for music, it comes as a surprise when John says, that if he were to live his life again he’d work in a 9-5 type job and then retire. He’s not joking.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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