The Kennedy Center

Robin Bullock


Hailed as a "Celtic guitar god" by Baltimore City Paper, Robin Bullock is a prolific composer and virtuoso multi-instrumentalist interpreting the ancient melodies of the Celtic lands and their vigorous Appalachian descendants on acoustic guitar, cittern and mandolin. The 17th-century harp tunes of legendary Irish bard Turlough O'Carolan, the spirited jigs and reels of rural Ireland, the haunting ballads of southern Appalachia and evocative original compositions all find a common ground in Robin's music, where lightning-fast fingerwork one moment is perfectly balanced with tender, quiet intimacy the next. A warm, friendly presence onstage, Robin effortlessly creates a magical world for the audience with his instrumental wizardry, taking them on a journey to the heart and soul of Celtic and American traditions. 

Originally rising to prominence as a founding member of the innovative acoustic world-music trio Helicon (winners of the Association for Independent Music's prestigious INDIE Award for Best Seasonal Recording), Robin's solo career has won him multiple Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE Awards, a Governor's Award from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a feature broadcast on National Public Radio's hugely popular Celtic music program "The Thistle and Shamrock."  His recorded work includes seven critically acclaimed solo CDs and four collaborations, including Celtic Guitar Summit with California fingerstylist Steve Baughman, which was honored by Acoustic Guitar Magazine with an "Editor's Pick" as one of the top CDs of 2003.

Born in 1964 in Washington DC, a major focal point for both bluegrass and Irish music, Robin began playing guitar at age seven, initially inspired by Doc and Merle Watson, Norman Blake and John Fahey. Robin's apprenticeship years were spent at fiddlers' conventions, bluegrass festivals and Irish seisuns, mastering the subtleties of a half-dozen instruments in both American and Celtic styles. Today, Robin is recognized as one of the few musicians who can so successfully blend the ancient airs and dance tunes of the Celtic lands with the roots music traditions of the "New World," winning praise from publications as diverse as Classical Guitar ("A musician whose technical skill and stylistic expertise are second to none"), Folk Roots ("Celtic flatpicking hero...a spectacular display of virtuosity and musicianship") and Bluegrass Unlimited ("Brilliant...inventive interpretations filled with grace and charm and warmth and insight").

In 2000, Robin relocated to France, and now lives in the tiny village of Tripleval, on the River Seine northwest of Paris. He continues to tour and record on both sides of the Atlantic, solo and in duos with guitarist Steve Baughman and flute player Michel Sikiotakis. In solo concert, he shares his remarkable gifts on guitar, cittern, mandolin and piano, combining Celtic and American ballads, airs and dance tunes into one magnificent vision.
Robin Bullock