Performance Saturday, March 17, 2012 | 8 PM

The Chieftains
With Paddy Moloney


Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
Ireland’s official Music Ambassadors and six time Grammy-winning ensemble, The Chieftains make their triumphant return to Carnegie Hall on St. Patrick’s Day as the climax of their 50th Anniversary Tour in support of their new album Voice of Ages. Paddy Moloney, “a musician of restless curiosity" (The New York Times), is sure to bring his special musician friends from around the world to celebrate this incredible night with them.


  • The Chieftains
    ·· Paddy Moloney, Tin Whistle and Uilleann Pipes
    ·· Kevin Conneff, Bodhrán and Vocals
    ·· Matt Molloy, Flute
    ·· Seán Keane, Fiddle
  • With special guest The Low Anthem


  • The Chieftains

    Six-time Grammy winners, The Chieftains are now recognized for bringing traditional Irish music to the world's attention. They have uncovered the wealth of traditional Irish music that has accumulated over the centuries, making the music their own with a style that is as exhilarating as it is definitive.

    The Chieftains were formed in 1962 by Paddy Moloney from the ranks of the top folk musicians in Ireland. Moloney brought together fiddler Martin Fay, flautist Michael Tubridy, tin-whistle virtuoso Seán Potts, and bodhrán player David Fallon. They recorded a supposedly one-off instrumental album, but five years later were reunited with some additions: fiddler Seán Keane and Peader Mercier replacing Fallon. Harpist Derek Bell came on board in 1973.

    It wasn't until 1975 that The Chieftains began playing together full time, marking the event with a historic performance at Royal Albert Hall in London. The following few years saw the departure of Mercier, and the addition of bodhrán player and vocalist Kevin Conneff. Another lineup change in 1978-1979 would see the departure of Potts and Tubridy. and the addition of a new flautist, Matt Molloy.

    Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music very quickly captured a much broader public, making them the best-known Irish band in the world today.

    Never afraid to shock purists and push boundaries, The Chieftains have amassed a dizzyingly varied resume. They are as comfortable playing spontaneous Irish sessions as they are headlining a concert at Carnegie Hall. After all these years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, their music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began. They have performed with many symphony and folk orchestras worldwide, and have broken many musical boundaries by collaborating and performing with some of the biggest names in rock, pop, and traditional music in Ireland and around the world.

    On top of their six Grammy Awards, The Chieftains have been honored in their own country by being officially named Ireland's Musical Ambassadors. In 2010, Moloney's whistle and Molloy's flute traveled to outer space with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, and this past year, they performed for HRH Queen Elizabeth II during her historical visit to Ireland.

    In 2010, The Chieftains released San Patricio, a collaboration with guitarist-producer Ry Cooder. The album was named after the San Patricio Battalion, a group of Irish immigrant conscripts who deserted the US Army in 1846 to fight on the Mexican side of the Mexican-American War.

    This year marks the group's 50th anniversary, and they plan to celebrate the momentous occasion by collaborating with old and new friends alike, reliving past memories and introducing The Chieftains historic career to a whole new generation of fans.

    More Info

  • The Low Anthem

    The Low Anthem is an eclectic folk-rock band from Providence, Rhode Island, recognized for its multi-instrumentalism, unique blend of timeless sounds, and dynamic live performances. Formed in 2006 by Ben Knox Miller and Jeffrey Prystowsky-and later adding Jocie Adams, Mike Irwin, and Tyler Osborn over the course of the band's evolution-they have released three albums. Their debut, What the Crow Brings, was recorded by Miller and Prystowsky over several months in their apartment. Oh My God, Charlie Darwin proved to be the band's breakthrough, garnering extensive critical and fan attention, and resulting in a recording contract with Nonesuch Records. Their most recent album, 2011's Smart Flesh, was recorded in an abandoned factory. The band has toured internationally, appearing at the Glastonbury, Bonnaroo, and Lollapalooza festivals, and accompanying such artists as The National, Mumford & Sons, Ray LaMontagne, The Avett Brothers, Emmylou Harris, and Iron & Wine. The Low Anthem has performed on the Late Show with David Letterman and Later … with Jools Holland, in addition to being featured in The New York Times, MOJO and Uncut magazines, and on NPR. Most recently, the band recorded with The Chieftains and T Bone Burnett. Arcadia is The Low Anthem's first film score.

    More Info


"Brian Boru's March"
The Chieftains
SBME Special Markets

Jeff Tamarkin on The Chieftains

Read nearly any article about the legendary Chieftains and you will invariably see them described as one of the most popular traditional Irish music bands in the world. That is certainly apt. For a remarkable 50 years, The Chieftains have brought their uilleann pipes, tin whistle, flute, bodhrán, and fiddle to every corner of the globe. They are truly Ireland’s ambassadors to the world.

But calling The Chieftains traditional and leaving it at that does them a great disservice. Since their start in 1962, the group—still led by founder Paddy Moloney—has always sought to expand into new musical areas. Over the years, they have performed with an astoundingly diverse array of admirers, including Van Morrison, Luciano Pavarotti, Sting, the Rolling Stones, and even Madonna. Rock giant Frank Zappa—who invited the group to play at his home—once said of The Chieftains, “I hear traces of not only Celtic history, but global history in their work, echoing back to the beginning of time.”

Never has the group’s thirst for artistic growth been clearer than it is on Voice of Ages, The Chieftains’ new release on Concord / Hear Music Records. Co-produced by Moloney and T Bone Burnett, the celebrated roots music specialist, the recording finds The Chieftains—who’ve previously been nominated for 18 Grammys and won six—in the company of such cutting-edge contemporary artists as Bon Iver, the Civil Wars, The Low Anthem, and the Decemberists, as well as the old-timey string band Carolina Chocolate Drops and the progressive bluegrass band the Punch Brothers.

“With 50 years of glorious music behind us,” Paddy Moloney recently said, “I can think of nothing more exciting than to spend another 50 years collaborating with the best voices of the future. “It just keeps on going,” he says of the band. “I’m already looking ahead at 2013. Now that I have the recording bug again, I’m mad for it. Retirement is something I should be thinking of, but I’ll go out with my boots on.”

—Jeff Tamarkin is the associate editor of JazzTimes magazine.

This performance is part of Around the Globe.