Mistress Bawd "Interactive Musical Comedy"

A Little Bit About Me...

As one of six children, I grew up on a Hobby Ranch in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, in what was then a quaint little farming community. Horse back riding was my greatest passion.

I started singing at the age of five when my Mother took on the role of Director of the children's choir at "All Saints Lutheran Church." That is also where I got my start in theater, as the children's choir would put on musicals, directed again by my Mother.

My first entertainment type competition was for the school talent show, at the age of 10, and I won 2nd place with my friend Madelyn Martin, for our rendition of "I'll Never Fall In Love Again!"

My first experience in a recording studio was when I was 10 as well. Our music teacher, and one of my mentors, Shari Stephen, thought our choir was good enough to record. And, Madelyn Martin, her sister Marge and I, were asked to sing a descant on "Battle Hymn of the Republic." I still get a laugh remembering how they had forgotten to turn on our microphone, but you could still hear us above the choir!

By the age of 13, I was starting to learn the Guitar, as I loved singing and wanted accompaniment but couldn't find anyone who wanted to join me in playing the music I loved! So, I had to do it myself. One of my listeners, today recalls my playing guitar, and singing on the bus to and from school, practicing for the school talent show when I was 14. And, he has been a devoted fan ever since. That was back in 1973! (Now, that is truly a dedicated fan!) 

I started writing music back in 74... In addition, a few of the songs I have written I have sung in friends weddings, at parties, and around the campfire. Others, I have recorded at one time or another, on CD & Tape. My favorite is "Raggedy Blue!" I hope to record it on my next album if I do not stick with all Renaissance music, again. My second Favorite is "Angel of my life." I wrote that song for my long time friend, and voice coach, Janice Kimes. And, it is recorded on the CD, "Give Back My Bordello."

When I was in my teenage years I had taken Foil Fencing and Archery classes for fun because, in 1973, I had fallen in love with the stories of "The Chronicles of Narnia," by C. S. Lewis! Then, I fell in love with England while on my first trip there, touring the Castles, Cathedrals, and Abbeys with other Minnetonka High classmates and teachers, in 1979. (I've been wanting to go back to England, to live, ever since!)

My sister told me about the Minnesota Renaissance Festival, and of how it is set in "Merry Old England!" And after passing the audition, and graduating the "Renaissance Academy" (learning the art of Improvisational Theater) I joined the cast of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in the fall of 1980. 

In 1981, I created my "Character" known as "Mistress Bawd," (A Bawd, a Muse, from a Shakespeare Comedy "Pericles, Prince of Tyre!") as a way to be able to sing the "Bawdy" pub songs that audiences love. You see, women were not allowed to do that, at the time, being relegated to singing madrigals (mostly), and being Staged (always) by rocks, and under trees! So, without anything for listeners to comfortably sit on, they would just walk by, and miss the performances. Now, I have my own Stages!!!

I saw how much fun the men were having, singing pub songs, and thought to myself; "I can do that!" However, in those days, the "Entertainment Director" insisted otherwise! "Women just do not do that!" He said! (I did not agree with him!) "What if you were the daughter of an Inn Keeper?" "Nope!" I said... "OK, a Harlot? "NO!!! I will be a Mistress, a Madam . . . With Class . . . A Muse!" With that, he agreed, and we thought up the name "Mistress Bawd" and, it stuck, ever since!

In 1985, while I was performing at the Texas Renaissance Festival, I made my first audio recording, "A Touch of Renaissance." (If you still have a copy, it could be worth something today, since I had extra tracks on the tape, which are no longer on my remixed/rerecorded CD of that same title.)

I took some time off from entertaining at Renaissance Festivals, after the 1986 season, and concentrated on Classical, Choral, and Pop music. During that "rest-time," I was offered (and, accepted) the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the US Olympic Festival, when it was in my home State of Minnesota. I was in an Opera, and performed at countless weddings, private parties, pubs, corporate events, and conventions. (My "rest-time" was VERY busy!) I even tried my hand at being a "DJ"/"KJ," and "Lighting Technician" over the years as well as, Community Theater productions, Back-up Vocalist for other Artists on
THEIR recorded works, Coached voice, and Stage-presents (and still do), as well as being a Recording Coach, Producer, Director, Choreographer, and Graphics Designer!

In 1997, I got the Renaissance "itch" (again), and joined the Minnesota Renaissance Festival a second time. In 1998, "Hot Springs Records," of Minneapolis/Saint Paul, discovered me! Then, things really "took-off!" I had a great time with Hot Springs Records!!! They were very good to me! And, I am, and will always be, very grateful to everyone involved with that company, which has developed into the "Hot Summer Jazz Festival," in the Twin Cities, since 1999. I had re-recorded "A Touch of Renaissance," at "Logic Recording Studio," in Minnesota, and a copy of the work landed in Steve Hecklers hands (by way of my networking with a coworker), and even though his label was exclusively Jazz, and Blues music, I guess he liked my sound! He said the recording was great!!! I just needed help with Mastering, packaging, and distribution of a CD.

In 2002, I recorded my second album "Give Back My Bordello!" I have been covering the country (and, other parts of the World), on "Tour," gaining new listeners/Fans, on my travels. And, with the advent of the Internet, I've become an International Recording Artist, with listeners everywhere from Japan to Ireland! (I love it!)

In 2007, I began performing in Aspen, Colorado, as a John Denver Tribute Artist. and became involved in John Denver,s Windstar Foundation. I also performed (non-profit) at the historic Atlas Theater, as an "Oleo Player," and at the Cheyenne VA Medical Center, while living in Wyoming. In 2014 I had the rare opportunity to sing on the Wheeler Opera House stage in Aspen,
Colorado in a festival celebrating John Denver's life, and music. And, in 2017, I held my own Concert at the Mountain Chalet in Aspen, with my friend Jimmy Fong joining me from Australia, including my dear friends Lynn Polochock, from New York, on vocals, and Karen Savarese, from Colorado, on wind instruments.

Now, I make my Home in Apache Junction, Arizona (with my Husband Michael, who is a Multi-Media Artist, and with our dogs Lucy and Maggie, our cat, Loki, and, a Big Hairy Scorpion named Fred.)

I perform Concerts at the "Lost Dutchman State Park" and, in 2015, returned to the "Arizona Renaissance Festival" as "Mistress Bawd, the Muse, and Bawdy Balladeer." In addition I am offering my talents (locally) for "House Concerts" Special Events, Art Shows, and more. 

I am getting to know, and love, our community of Apache Junction.  

Besides singing, now, I have been concentrating on other forms of Art... Painting, sewing and embroidery, jewelry and beading, sculpting and modeling, to name a few... (I will be displaying/selling some of my works, on this site!) Stay tuned for more updates to this information! 


Susan Kay Burke AKA Mistress Bawd

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