PhillyFolk Artists

Kenneth “Skip” Burney

Afro-Cuban percussionist, Rumba, Jazz

Kenneth “Skip” Burney, aka “Brinquito,” is a drummer, percussionist and teacher of Rumba, Afro-Cuban music, and Jazz. He specializes in Lucumi Orisha music—the Yoruba-rooted music of Cuba, featuring batá drums, congas, shekeres and/or cajones (wooden boxes). A Bronx, NY native, Burney has dedicated his life to preserving this cultural tradition.

His classical training in music began at-home with his mother Madame Lucille Burney and aunt Leontyne Price, then continued at Juliard School of Music where he majored in Voice. Skip’s 54+ years of playing Rumba began in the parks and venues of NYC and later continued on to other parts of the U.S. and Cuba. He studied with Tito Puente, Julito Collazo, Lazaro Galarraga, Mongo Santamaria, Art Blakey, Billy Higgins, and others. Additionally, he was trained and initiated to Añá (the fraternity of Lucumi ritual drummers) by Orlando “Puntilla” Rios. He considers himself “a drummer who happens to sing.” And in the 40 years since meeting Puntilla, he has traveled the world performing, teaching, and serving his community through song and music.

Skip has performed, toured, and/or recorded with Miles Davis, Chaka Khan, Dianne Reeves, Herbie Hancock, McCoy Tyner, Branford Marcelis, Bill Summers, Quincy Jones, Charlie Palmieri, and Phil Collins, to name a few. He’s been a member of groups such as Yoruba Andabo, Gene Golden and Quinto Mayor, Nueva Generación (New Generation), and Eru Chambo, while also working on projects with John Mason (Ironti Aponni Meji, 1989) Amma McKen (Alaako Oso, 2007), Aristides Paradi (Rumba Clave, 2013), and Vicky Jassey (Bearers of Sacred Sound, 2017). In recognition of his career as a musician and educator, Mr. Burney received a grant from the 2015 Florida Folklife Artist-in-Residence program to conduct instructional workshops.