||After 40 years, Chieftains still piping up for
By Patrick MacDonald
Seattle Times staff critic
Paddy Moloney is a sweet, soft-spoken
Irishman with a lilting brogue not unlike that
of the Lucky Charms leprechaun. But don't
get him started about "Titanic."
Before that 1997 blockbuster movie, The
Chieftains, which Moloney has helmed for
40 years, ruled Irish music. Then the
soundtrack, featuring Celine Dion's smash
hit, "My Heart Will Go On," and the movie's
ubiquitous tin whistle theme, became the
best-selling album of (mostly) Irish music
ever, surpassing the many Chieftains
Moloney, a master of tin whistle (as well as
Uilleann Pipes), wouldn't mind, except that
the movie's music sounded an awful lot like
that of The Chieftains, especially that
"If you listen attentively, really attentively, to
the song where you hear that whistle thing,"
Moloney says, "all I can do is — well, I
won't say what. But go back and listen to my album, 'The Celtic Harp,' which
won a Grammy a couple of years ago, and you'll hear strains of that going
through it somewhere. I know where it all came from. We should have been
asked to do it, really. A lot of people think it was us. And it is, in theory — in a
Moloney was on the line from his hotel room in
West Hollywood. He was in Los Angeles to put the
final touches on an album to be released next month
on RCA Records, "The Chieftains 40 Years
Celebration: Wide World Over."
"It's not a best-of or a greatest hits," he explained.
"We're not in that kind of business. It's just a program of selected tunes that I
chose. Needless to say, of course I included some of my friends — Joni
Mitchell and Van Morrison and Sinead (O'Connor) and The Corrs, and 'The
Rocky Road to Dublin' with the Rolling Stones, and Sting is there, too. And
there are a few bonus tracks that haven't been released before."
Moloney was dismayed that Columbia Records has just released "The Best of
The Chieftains," an album that recycles material from three albums the band did
for the label in the late 1970s.
"They piggyback anything we do, this crowd," he grumbled. "I can't stop them. I
tell you, it pisses me off. What can I say? It's our music! They do this on us
every time we bring out an album. They hear about it, and they bring out some
of this old stuff. It's nothing that I've had a hand in putting together. That's all I
can say about it."
After 40 years and 45 albums, The Chieftains (the current lineup has been
together more than 20 years) are still going strong. They just signed a deal with
RCA, for five albums over the next five years. Moloney's dream of spreading Irish
music throughout the globe has been largely fulfilled. The group is huge in Japan
and has played all over Asia, Europe, Central and South America, Cuba and the
Bahamas, Australia and New Zealand. There are Irish pubs now in most of the
world's major cities, with no small thanks to The Chieftains.
Moloney is enthusiastic about the current tour, which features Natalie
MacMaster, whom he called "the genius of Cape Breton fiddle and dance, and a
beautiful blond bombshell whose humor is terrific"; Donny Golden, "the king of
Irish dancing as far as we're concerned"; Nashville guitarist Jeff White ("you
should hear how he picks these Irish melodies"); and some local Irish dancers
— Moloney will audition Irish musicians and dancers two hours before show
time at the Paramount.
"For me, I pay tribute to the 11th September victims," Moloney said. "I played at
Ground Zero last October. I was brought up right beside it by one of the
Irish-American policemen, Cronin his name was, as he said 'You have two
minutes.' I just walked forward into the incredible, most shocking experience I've
ever had in my life, with the smell and the whole feel. I was totally overcome,
and I whipped out a whistle and played a little tune called 'T imse'mo Chodladh,'
which means 'I am asleep, do not wake me,' and after that another piece called
'Dorchas,' or 'Song of Hope,' which we all played later at a memorial service."
As for the concert here, Moloney said you can expect a boisterous evening.
"It's quite a show. It slips along like you don't believe it. On the whole, it's going
to be a fairly wild night."
Patrick MacDonald: 206-464-2312 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
||The tracklisting is as follows:
1.- 'Redemption Song' with Ziggy Marley
Medley: 'March of the King of Laois'/'Paddy's Jig'/'O'Keefe's - The Chattering Magpie' (Reels)
2.- 'The Foggy Dew' with Sinead O'Connor
3.- 'I Know My Love' with The Corrs
4.- 'Cotton Eyed Joe' with Ricky Skaggs
5.- 'The Magdalene Laundries' with Joni Mitchell
Live From Matt Molloy's Pub
6.- 'Shenandoah' with Van Morrison
Medley: 'The Munster Cloak'/'An Poc Ar Buille'/'Ferney Hill - Little Molly' (Reels)
7.- 'Morning Has Broken' with Diana Krall and Art Garfunkel
8.- 'Morning Dew/Women of Ireland' (The Love Theme from 'Barry Lyndon')
9.- 'Mo Ghile Mear' with Sting
10.- 'Carolan's Concerto'
11.- 'Guadalupe' with Linda Ronstadt
12.- 'Full Of Joy' with Chinese Ensemble
13.- 'Here's A Health To The Company'
14.- 'Hunting The Fox' with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
15.- 'Long Journey Home' (anthem) with Elvis Costello and Anuna
16.- 'The Rocky Road To Dublin' with The Rolling Stones
The song was recorded in Dublin, Ireland, at Windmill Lane Recording Studios on September 30 and October 1, 1993 but released until Jaunary 20, 1995 in the album "The Long Black Veil"