Member of The Calvinists band dies after car crash

Gardaí appeal for witnesses to Bantry crash which claims life of musician Taidhg Burke

Gardaí in West Cork have appealed to the public for assistance following the death of a member of well-known band The Calvinists in a car crash in Bantry over the weekend.

Taidhg Burke, bassist with the group, was fatally injured when the car in which he was a back seat passenger struck a pole on Bridge Street in Bantry at about 4am on Sunday morning.

Mr Burke (32), who was from Borlin near Kealkill outside Bantry, was taken by ambulance to Bantry General Hospital but lost his fight for life there at about midday today.

Gardaí have appealed to anyone who witnessed the single-vehicle incident or has any knowledge of it to contact them at Bantry Garda station on 027-20860.

Fellow members of The Calvinists, guitarist and vocalist Noel Maguire, lead guitarist Frank Wieler and drummer Darragh Coakley last night told of their loss.

“Dear Friends, We are deeply saddened to bring you the news that Taidhg Burke, our bass player, friend & brother has passed away from injuries he sustained in a car accident on Sunday morning,” they said in a message to fans.

“This is obviously a very sad & difficult time for his family, the band and his friends. Taidhg was so loved by everyone who knew him. He was a fantastic songwriter, bass player, performer and friend.

“Taidhg’s family and the band would like to say a huge thank you to everyone for their support in this extremely difficult time. Taidhg will be in our hearts forever and words can’t even express how much we will miss him.

“His mother Sandie has asked us to send her love to you all and asked that everyone please please take a lesson from this tragedy, to stay safe on the roads, wear a seat belt and please try to make the right decision when driving at all times.”

The Calvinists - who have played on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show as well as at festivals Electric Picnic and Independience - came to international prominence three years ago when US travel writer Matt Gross came across them playing in The Schooner Bar in Bantry.

Writing for the New York Times, Gross told how he had been driving aimlessly through the country for the week as part of a rural getaway when he was attracted by a poster for a gig by the band.

He told how he was hooked by the ironic name of the band, who had named themselves after reformist pastor John Calvin who had been completely opposed to music. He was entralled when he saw the band live that night in Bantry.

Gross wrote that The Calvinists were “awesome: straight-up rock with a country accent, courtesy of the banjoist Taidhg Burke, and the range to cover both Johnny Cash and Gorillaz, thanks to Noel Maguire’s effortless voice.”

Details of a planned wake and funeral arrangements for the late bassist are to be announced in the coming days.