Death Announced Of The Legendary Chieftains Founder Paddy Moloney

Paddy Moloney

The death has been announced of one of the totems of Irish traditional music in Paddy Moloney, a creative multi-instrumentalist, composer, and founder of The Chieftains.

Hailing from Donneycarney on the northside of Dublin, Moloney was introduced to the tin whistle and the uilleann pipes by the age of just eight.

Moloney was heavily influenced by the iconic composer and musician Seán O’Riada, performing throughout the 1960s with the venerable Cork genius.

The popular Paddy founded The Chieftains in 1963, alongside the original lineup of Seán Potts (tin whistle), Martin Fay (fiddle), David Fallon (bodhrán), and Mick Tubridy (flute).

The Irish Traditional Music Archive said “made an enormous contribution to Irish traditional music, song and dance“, while “few people can lay claim to having the level of impact Paddy Moloney had on the vibrancy of traditional music throughout the world.”

The Minister for Arts, Catherine Martin joined the many who paid tribute. “With the passing of Paddy Moloney, we have lost a giant of the national cultural landscape. Through the Chieftains, he brought the joy of Irish music to a global audience. His music was a source of celebration and pride for all of us. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam”.

The Chieftains made an American breakthrough prompted by releases from Island Records, as they won a reputation as cultural ambassadors – while landing a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2002 BBC Folk Awards, and six Grammy awards.

That intense love of their art form saw them to collaborate with a who’s who of world class musicians, including Sting, Willie Nelson, Tom Jones, Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder and The Rolling Stones.

Among their audiences were his holiness Pope John Paul II during his visit in 1979, the more recent visit of Queen Elizabeth II, while they were famously the first Western band invited to perform on the Great Wall of China in 1983.

Moloney’s scoring appeared in several television and film productions, including Treasure Island, Braveheart, Gangs of New York, and Stanley Kubrick’s period drama Barry Lyndon.