Hail to the Chieftain
October 13, 2021 3:54 AM   Subscribe

I waited a day respectfully to see if President Biden, a big fan, would post here first but Pádraig Ó Maoldomhnaigh Paddy Maloney, founder of The Chieftains and Claddagh Records died on Monday. The Chieftains put Irish Trad on the world stage not least by listening to music from outside Ireland and riffing on that.

Irish Classical - a medley of three tunes by Turlough O'Carolan (1670-1738). Or Classical classical Planxty Mozart (1756-1791); the hornpipe concerto. Santiago, their Galician venture, won a Grammy for World Music in 1997. La Virgen de Guadalupe with Linda Ronstadt.
With Ry Cooder on the borderline remembering the Brigada San Patricio who fought for Mexico. Hands across another border: Toss the Feathers with James Galway. Lakes of Pontchartrain with Paul Brady. And back to Dublin - Raglan Road with Van Morrison.
posted by BobTheScientist (42 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
posted by mfoight at 4:06 AM on October 13

Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

A couple of my own favorites:

Boil the Breakfast Early
Teaming up with Great Big Sea on Lukey's Boat
Behind Blue Eyes with Roger Daltrey (it works)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:08 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]

posted by mumimor at 4:13 AM on October 13

Of all the comrades that e'er I had
They're sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e'er I had
They'd wish me one more day to stay
But since it fell unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be to you all…
Thank you for good nights, singalongs with good friends, and wonderful music, Pádraig.
posted by mephron at 4:13 AM on October 13 [15 favorites]

posted by The Nutmeg of Consolation at 4:19 AM on October 13

posted by verbminx at 4:19 AM on October 13

posted by GenjiandProust at 4:27 AM on October 13

Paddy Moloney appeared on three of my favourite albums by one of my favourite artists: Mike Oldfield's Ommadawn, Five Miles Out, and Amarok. That alone made him a legend in my eyes.
posted by rory at 4:29 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]

posted by gauche at 4:51 AM on October 13

We had the good fortune to see The Chieftains live twice. One was on St. Patrick's Day years ago. They were all such good musicians and the wise cracks, mostly from Paddy, added to the fun. RIP Paddy RIP.
posted by DJZouke at 5:15 AM on October 13

This is my favourite music video of all time featuring The Chieftains with Carlos Nuñez. The pure unbridled joy is almost overwhelming.
posted by night_train at 5:37 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]

The choir I direct had the pleasure of performing with the Chieftains in the fall of 2019 during their last tour before the pandemic. Paddy and the others were nothing but gracious to us.

We'd been told to prep the two songs they wanted us to sing on, and one other that showcased the choir but could only be 1 minute long. We prepped Nead na Lachan, a fast-paced Irish language song. When we came out during the finale to add it to the medley, Paddy looked surprised, but gave us the thumbs up after we'd sung. That remains one of the highlights of my career as a musician. Paddy Moloney gave me the thumbs up. RIP Paddy.
posted by LN at 6:01 AM on October 13 [25 favorites]

posted by humbug at 6:31 AM on October 13

I remember some of these with the fragile LP sleeves that seemed even bigger when I was a kid. So much of my childhood, and there’s new stuff I’d missed as an adult.

posted by clew at 6:52 AM on October 13

Was lucky enough to see The Chieftains at The Kennedy Center for a St Patrick's Day concert ... sometime in the late 90s. Paddy was such a great story teller.
posted by Hey, Zeus! at 7:01 AM on October 13

posted by briank at 7:32 AM on October 13

posted by riruro at 7:35 AM on October 13

posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:35 AM on October 13

posted by The Underpants Monster at 7:36 AM on October 13

Oh no. What a loss, but also what a gift he gave us.

Time to break out my old Chieftain CDs in tribute.
posted by widdershins at 7:48 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:00 AM on October 13

As a fellow uilleann piper this was huge news in my world. Really a loss of an extraordinary talent. We also lost Tony MacMahon this week who was also hugely influential.
posted by misterpatrick at 8:08 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]

I’m sorry to hear this.

I saw the Chieftains live only once, in late 1989 or early 1990. It was a superb show, but what I recall most was an odd interaction afterward; I came home from the concert and stopped in the corner store at the end of my block to get a carton of milk or something.

The cashier asked me out of the blue if I had been at the concert that evening. I replied that yes I had been and how did you know that? She told me it was a guess based on what I was wearing. I realized I was in fact wearing an Aran sweater, which I thought was a Sherlockian bit of deduction on her part: Irish sweater equals attendance at Irish music concert.

We talked in generalities about the band — this was my first time seeing them live, but she had seen them six or eight times, and had tried to get out of her shift to go tonight but she couldn’t. She told me she had friends who had seen the band dozens of times, which bespoke a level of devotion I could not muster for any band. I paid for my milk and walked home, puzzling over one or two odd things she’d mentioned that I couldn’t really connect to the Chieftains.

It was not until I got home that it became clear: my sweater was just visible through the neck of a Guatemalan poncho I had worn that day, and while the Chieftains were playing at the 3,000-seat concert hall, two blocks away the 18,000-seat arena had hosted a Grateful Dead show that evening.

We had unknowingly held two parallel conversations about two different bands. She may have come away from our interaction equally puzzled.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:12 AM on October 13 [23 favorites]

I came to the Chieftains through an Irish American girlfriend of mine in high school. This woman made the best mix tapes I have ever heard in my life. There, on one of them, was Dunmore Lassies with Ry Cooder on slide guitar. To this day one of the most haunting and beautiful melodies I've heard. It has a way of popping into my head when nothing else is there and sticking around for days until I make the time to listen.

For five years after high school I worked the music department of a Borders store and was in charge of stocking, upkeep and marketing of the 'World Music' section, a huge chunk of which was Celtic music of different stripes. I even took up the tin whistle! I had the opening shift on Sundays (6 AM!) and being usually hung over and in a delicate way, I'd often put on the Chieftains and soothe myself with coffee at the desk. To this day, if I'm not sure what I want to listen to, the default is likely traditional Irish instrumentals and more often than not involves Paddy Maloney.

RIP and thanks for all the quiet Sunday morning reparation.
posted by kaiseki at 8:30 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]

posted by Cash4Lead at 9:00 AM on October 13

The Chieftains will always hold a special place in my heart for The Bells of Dublin, which I genuinely think is the best Christmas album ever recorded. It's just a wonderful, joyous album, like everyone's gathered on Christmas eve at the local pub. By all accounts it has that vibe because Paddy Moloney was just a really fun, genial guy whom people loved to play with, and I swear you can hear it.

And I always got a kick out of this story about its recording:

The Dublin bells that inspired the album title are those of Christ Church Cathedral, a 12th-Century Norman contribution to the center of Dublin. Their ringing is also the sound that opens the album.

“Its bells are very famous,” Moloney said. “We went up on the roof and recorded them. But the 12 bell ringers have a special numbering system they use for ringing the bells. I tried to get them to learn my melody for the bells, and it didn’t quite work out. But it went on for about two hours.

“Martin Fay of the band is quite a pint drinker, and there are some tremendous pubs near the church there, so he was in one of them. And the boys beside him were going ‘What in the name of Jaysus is going on up there?’ There was a terrible noise coming out of the bells. It probably caused an awful stir in the pubs all around.”

posted by ZaphodB at 9:08 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]

ricochet biscuit, that story is incredible. I'm also having a great time trying to picture the pairing of an Aran sweater with a Guatemalan poncho.
posted by ZaphodB at 9:14 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]

posted by Splunge at 9:40 AM on October 13

Will Brak be a pallbearer?
posted by Jessica Savitch's Coke Spoon at 9:44 AM on October 13

I'm also having a great time trying to picture the pairing of an Aran sweater with a Guatemalan poncho.

For full effect, you must picture them on a self-conscious twentyish Gen-X guy in 1990. I think my lower half was in a pair of jeans that were carefully repaired and sewn back together after each wash and were maybe 35-40% colourful heterogeneous patches by area.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:05 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]

posted by Silverstone at 10:23 AM on October 13

posted by suelac at 10:24 AM on October 13

posted by dannyboybell at 10:31 AM on October 13

Story time:

I had the great pleasure of singing with Paddy and the Chieftains back in the late 90s. At the time, they were touring to promote an album including music they recorded for a TV mini-series called "The Irish in America." One of those was a recording of Shenandoah.

I was part of a chorus in Baltimore that had been engaged to back up the Chieftains for a few of their songs, including Shenandoah. There was clearly some sort of miscommunication about what that would entail. We prepared a lovely choral version of Shenandoah and performed it for the Chieftains at the dress rehearsal that day (our first opportunity to meet with them), and Paddy and the others said no no, that wasn't what they were looking for at all. They gave us a copy of the CD and told us to go listen to it and then come back and do that. (This is now about 2 hours before showtime.)

So we went into the basement of the symphony hall and found a CD player and listened to the track, which was actually a collaboration between the Chieftains and Van Morrison, with chorus in the background. Our choir director went white as a sheet, turned to me, and said, "can you do that?" I, being about 23 at the time and arrogant, said, "Sure."

So that's how I came to sing lead on Shenandoah in a poor approximation of Van Morrison, while backed up by the Chieftains, at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore. The whole thing happened so fast that it didn't even occur to me to call anyone in my family and let them know it was happening (I was just supposed to be a random member of the backing chorus). So nobody I know witnessed my brush with stardom.

Paddy was fantastic to work with, and the whole thing was an amazing experience. He was a true legend, and will be missed.
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 10:41 AM on October 13 [17 favorites]

posted by Philofacts at 2:41 PM on October 13

Listened to Bonaparte's Retreat on vinyl all the time when I was a kid and had the house to myself. What a powerful album of excitement and enthusiasm for the drum and pipe. Now I can't find it anywhere! I miss this album so much!
posted by parmanparman at 2:55 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]

Ghile Mear ‘sa seal faoi chumha,
‘S Eire go léir faoi chlócaibh dubha;
Suan ná séan ní bhfuaireas féin
Ó cuaigh i gcéin mo Ghile Mear.
posted by Nanukthedog at 3:05 PM on October 13

posted by pt68 at 10:18 PM on October 13

Watching a few of these, of course you find more. Here’s a BBC documentary.
posted by xtian at 4:48 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]

May his memory be a blessing.
posted by Mutant Lobsters from Riverhead at 2:35 PM on October 14

posted by Capybara at 5:35 PM on October 14

I'm pretty sure he was the first person I ever saw playing the Uilleann pipes. And the An Irish Evening album was in constant rotation rotation around the house in my 20's. I still sing "Raglan Road" and "North Americay" around the house while cleaning.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:32 PM on October 14

« Older I’m Southern f*cking Baptist!   |   The Second King Newer »

You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.