Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Chieftains: For 50 Years, Irish Music For The World

English: The Chieftains performing at the Inte...Image via WikipediaPaul McCartney, Madonna, Doc Watson and Luciano Pavarotti have at least one thing in common: They've all collaborated with Irish folk band The Chieftains.

The band, credited with helping to revive Irish music, is celebrating its 50th anniversary and a career that includes more than 50 albums, six Grammys and an Oscar. The latest album, Voice of Ages, includes recordings of traditional songs with help from indie-rocker Bon Iver, folk group The Civil Wars, string band Carolina Chocolate Drops and country trio Pistol Annies, among others. Chieftains founder Paddy Moloney tells Morning Edition's Renee Montagne that it all began for him in the 1940s, with a gift from his mother.

"I was 6 years of age," he says, "and my mother bought me what you call a pennywhistle — a tin whistle — for one shilling and nine pence."

The Chieftains began in 1962, at a time when rock 'n' roll was king. Moloney's goal was not only to bring back traditional Irish music, but to infuse it with new life.

"I adapted my own style of arrangements and little compositions and riffs here and there, and harmonies," he says. "It got to be heard everywhere by the likes of John Peel, who was the great disc jockey of that era, in the '60s and '70s and '80s. And John was playing our tape in among the Beatles and Rolling Stones."

The Chieftains collaborated with everyone from Tom Jones and Elvis Costello to Van Morrison and John Hiatt — even Mick Jagger.

"I remember, in the '60s, Mick coming to one of our concerts in Dublin," Moloney says. "I never realized, you know, that there were people out there listening and wanting to get back to roots, get back to where it all might have started from."

The Chieftains went to Nashville, too, where the band worked with Lyle Lovett, Rosanne Cash and Ricky Skaggs.

"For me to go to Nashville was almost going to another part of Ireland, meeting up with all your country cousins and just go for it," he says, "because you didn't have to duck and dash with these people — they knew the music. And if you played it once or twice, naturally they'd just pick it up and play it."

For one collaboration, in the '80s, The Chieftains went all the way to China. There, the group blended traditional Chinese music with its own sound.

"Some of the pieces you will hear — melody-wise there's a big difference, but it's the same ideas, you know, music to do with the seasons, to do with love, to do with battles that took place," he says. "It's just so Irish in a way. And we took a trip down the Yangtze River with all our Chinese friends, and we got them up dancing the 'Walls of Limerick,' which is a set dance, an Irish set dance. They were very suspicious at the beginning, and they weren't quite sure what to make of us, you know, but the Maotai was taking effect on them as well as us."

Maotai is a Chinese liquor, and gan bei is a common Chinese toast — their slainte: "That means bottoms up," he says. "That's how we got them all dancing."

The Chieftains' members have traveled even farther afield to make music.

"A very good friend of mine, Cady Coleman, she's an astronaut," Moloney says. He gave her bandmate Matt Molloy's flute, one of his own tin whistles and some sheet music the last time she went up to the International Space Station. That St. Patrick's Day, Moloney says, the group got a missive from way up high.

"Straight to Matt Molloy's iPad comes this Cady," Moloney says. "She's floating and she plays the tune that I gave her, 'Fanny Power,' which is on the album [under the title 'The Chieftains in Orbit'], and she floats away, her hair sticking up in the air, and the tin whistle floats with her. I took that recording and put it on so when you hear her whistle sort of disappearing to the left, I come in on the right. So we have done funny things in our time, you know?"

The Chieftains: For 50 Years, Irish Music For The World : NPR

No comments:


accordion achill activities Affiliate Program Alan Kelly Alan Shatter Alasdair Roberts Alison Krauss All Ireland Fleadh Altan Andy Irvine antrim archive armagh Arthur McBride Arts Arts and Entertainment Arts Council Arty McGlynn Athlone Baltimore band banjo Bantry Barney McKenna Baroque music Bill Whelan Bluegrass music bodhran bouzouki brendan begley Brendan Dolan brian boru Brian Conway Brian Cunningham Brock McGuire Band bunsatty Caoimhin O Raghallaigh Cape Breton Castlebar Cathy Davey Cavan cd ceili Céilí Band Céilidh celtic Celtic music Celtic rock ceol charlie lennon Chicago chieftains christmas Christmas music Christy Moore ciorras clancy Clancy Brothers classes classical music comhaltas Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann Compact Disc Compass Records concert concertina Concerts and Events Connemara Conradh na Gaeilge Cootehill cork Cork County Council Cork University Press Cormac De Barra County Clare County Leitrim Dáithí Sproule Damien Dempsey Dán Dance Dancing at Lughnasa Danny Boy danu Dave Swarbrick Declan Sinnott De Dannan Deezer Derry dervish dkit Dolores Keane Dónal Lunny Donegal Donegal Fiddle Tradition Donnacha Dennehy doolin drisheen Drogheda Drumkeeran drums Drumshanbo dublin Dubliners Dundalk dun uladh early music East Clare Ed Reavy Education Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin Eileen Ivers Eleanor McEvoy Electric Picnic emer mayock ennis European Union Fairytale of New York Feakle feis Feis Ceoil felix dolan festival Festivals fidde fiddle Fiddling Film festival Fleadh Fleadh Cheoil Fleadh Cheoil Competition Céilí Band Jig Comhaltas fleadh nua flute folklore Folk music Folk music of Ireland france outdoors Francis O'Neill Frank Harte Frankie Gavin frankie kennedy free download Gaeilge Gaelic gael-linn galway Galway Arts Festival galway bay George Bernard Shaw gig glor goodman manuscripts Grammy Award Green Linnet Records group Grouse Lodge Guinness guitar harp hinse history holidays hornpipe Iarla Ó Lionáird iPhone Ireland irish Irish American irish arts centre IrishCentral irish dance irish flute Irish language irish music Irish people Irish Recorded Music Association IrishTimes irish traditional music Irish Traditional Music Archive irishtune.info irish whistle Israel itma Ivan Goff jack coen JAMES JOYCE James Joyce Centre Jig jigs Joanie Madden Joe Derrane John Carty John Doyle John McCusker John McKenna John McSherry john spillane John Wynne Julie Fowlis Junior Crehan Karan Casey Karen Matheson Kathleen MacInnes Kevin Crawford Kilfenora Kilfenora Céilí Band Latin America learn Len Graham Leopold Bloom Le Vent du Nord Lieutenant of Inishmore Literature Liz Carroll London London Irish Centre Lord of the Dance louisburgh lunasa MacTalla Mor Maggie MacInnes mairtin o'connor Máirtín Ó Direáin Malawi Mandolin Margaret Bennett Martin Carthy martin fay Martin Hayes Martin McDonagh Martin Quinn Mary Bergin Mary Black Maryland Massachusetts Matt Molloy mayo McMahon Merry Sisters of Fate Michael Flatley Michael Rooney Michael Tubridy Mícheál Ó Súilleabháin Micho Russell Mick Moloney mick o'brien milwaukee Monaghan Moya Brennan mp3 Muireann Nic Amhlaoibh music Musical composition Music festival Music of Ireland Natasha McShane Neil Young New York Noel Hill Northern Ireland npu NUIG o'carolan omagh Orkney Paddy Fahey paddy keenan paddy moloney paddy o'brien Padraig Rynne passionfruit theatre Paul Brady penny whistle Peter Horan Philadelphia Philip Duffy piano pipes Planxty podcast Poetry Pogues Quebec radio radisson Raidió Teilifís Éireann recording reel reels riverdance Robert Downey Jr Ronan Browne Ronnie Drew Roscommon rose of tralee rowsome Royal Irish Academy of Music RTÉ Concert Orchestra Ryan Molloy Saint Patrick's Day school scoil acla Scoil Éigse scotland Seachtain na Gaeilge Sean Nós Sean-nós song Séan O'Riada Seán Ó Ríordáin séan potts sean tyrell session Set dancing Shanachie Records shannon shannonside Sharon Shannon shetland show singer Singing Skara Brae Sliabh Luachra sligo solas Sorley MacLean st.patrick stephen ducke Streaming media Stuart MacRae summer school teada teetotallers tg4 theatre the forge Tin whistle Tommy McCarthy Tommy Peoples Tommy Sands Toner Quinn Town Hall Theatre trad traditional Traditional Folk and Celtic Traditional music trad music tradmusiconline.com tradschool trocaire Tulla Tulla Céilí Band tune makers tunepal tutorial tv uilleann pipes Ulysses University of Limerick vallely Van Morrison venue Vermont video Violin W. B. Yeats Waterford westmeath whistle willie Willie Clancy Willie Walsh workshop workshops world fleadh