Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney has died aged 83

Opera singer


Paddy Moloney, deceased at the age of 83.

President Michael D. Higgins paid tribute to Paddy Moloney, musician, composer, arranger, founder and frontman of The Chieftains, who died aged 83, media reported on Tuesday.

“The Irish music community, and indeed the much wider community around the world which has found such inspiration in their work, will have learned with great sadness today of the passing of Paddy Moloney.

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“Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, including the uilleann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the revival of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation for music and music. Irish culture internationally.

“On behalf of Sabina and myself, and on behalf of the Irish people, I would like to express my deepest condolences to Paddy’s family and friends, and in particular to his wife, Rita, and his children, Aonghus, Pádraig and Aedín. “

Taoiseach Micheál Martin praised Moloney for his “massive contribution to the life of our nation. The term ‘legend’ is regularly overused, but it’s hard to find another way to describe this giant of Irish music and culture.” .

The Irish Traditional Music Archive said few could claim the “level of impact that Paddy Moloney has had on the dynamism of traditional music around the world.”

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He added: “Uilleann piper, tin whistle player, composer, arranger and frontman of The Chieftains, Paddy has made a huge contribution to traditional Irish music, song and dance.

“What a wonderful musical legacy he left us.”

Singer Imelda May said that the founder of the Chieftains “made us all so proud of our heritage and brought such joyful energy.

“He was ours, wasn’t he. I am honored to have known and worked with not only a legend, but a truly lovely man.”

Irish musician Frances Black said she was “deeply saddened to learn of the passing of the Great Paddy Moloney”.

“What a charming and talented man. His wonderful game will always be missed, Sleep well Paddy.”

Paddy Moloney pictured in 2004. [Rolling Hughes]

The acclaimed multi-instrumentalist has been a “leading contributor to the revival of Irish folk and traditional music,” The Irish Times reported on Tuesday. “The Chieftains have become one of the best-known Irish traditional groups in the world, winning six Grammys. The Irish government officially recognized them as cultural ambassadors in 1989.

Moloney, who grew up in a musical family in Donnycarney, in the north of the town, played tin whistle and uilleann pipes as a child, learning from piper Leo Rowsome.

After leaving school, he took a job with Baxendale & Co, a large building materials company, where he met his future wife. He used the income from his work to further his musical career, which in the 1960s came to play in Ceoltóirí Chualann, the traditional group led by composer and musician Seán Ó Riada.

In 1962 Moloney formed The Chieftains – the name was inspired by Irish poet John Montague. After being released on Island Records, whose roster also included Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan, and later U2 and The Cranberries, their music reached an American audience, expanding the reach of traditional and folk music.

Moloney and his band were known for their collaborations in all genres, including rock star Mick Jagger and opera singer Luciano Pavarotti, his contribution to film scores like “The Gangs of New York” and his world traveling to destinations such as China. .

The leader of the Chieftains was a frequent visitor to America where two of his children built their careers. His daughter Aedín Moloney is very present as an actress and writer in the New York art world. She was in attendance with her mother Rita at the National Arts Club, Gramercy Park, when Paddy Moloney received the Gold Medal of Honor for Lifetime Achievement in Music, in 2011.