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Chieftains on NPRadio Irish/C&W music

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Desert Dancer 14 Feb 12 - 04:25 PM
Alice 15 Oct 02 - 11:16 AM
Alice 15 Oct 02 - 10:52 AM
Alice 14 Oct 02 - 07:45 PM
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Subject: RE: Chieftains on NPRadio Irish/C&W music
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 14 Feb 12 - 04:25 PM

Further from NPR on the Chieftains and their various collaborations over the past 50 years:

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

Feb. 14, 2012, interview by Renee Montagne

Paul 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?"

Listen to the audio of the interview with Paddy Moloney to hear various audio samples, and there are two links to full tracks on the web page: "Down in the Willow Garden," featuring Bon Iver, and "The Chieftains in Orbit," featuring Cady Coleman.

~ Becky in Long Beach

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Subject: RE: Chieftains on NPRadio Irish/C&W music
From: Alice
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 11:16 AM

The above link is to the page with all the audio files of that day's program. Here is a direct link to the Real Audio file.

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Subject: RE: Chieftains on NPRadio Irish/C&W music
From: Alice
Date: 15 Oct 02 - 10:52 AM

OK, the audio file can be directly linked now (it wasn't up yet when I first posted the thread).
In the audio, Gillian Welch sings "Katie Dear" and Alison Krause sings "Molly Bahn". The interview is much like some Mudcat threads, as Paddy talks about the connections between songs and tunes in Ireland and America, such as Molly Bahn and Polly Vaughn. It also includes a bit of Joni Mitchell's "Magdalene Laundry", with Paddy saying "I know the place, I mean, it's in Dublin, you know." Regarding the Antarctic trip for the dawn of 2000 that he took there is "Morning Has Broken".

quote from NPR notes
"Jacki Lyden talks to Paddy Moloney, leader and tin whistle player for the Irish band, The Chieftains. They've been performing for 40 years now, re-invigorating traditional Irish music and taking it around the world. To mark the four decades, the group has a CD called The Wide World Over, in which some of the group's collaborations with international artists, such as Joni Mitchell and Art Garfunkel, are reprised. The Chieftains also have another new CD, Down the Long Plank Road, recorded with country performers in Nashville, Tenn. Moloney says Irish music is strong enough to blend with sounds from elsewhere and still retain its strength. (12:30) The Wide World Over and Down the Old Plank Road, both by The Chieftains, are on the RCA Victor label." end quote

I didn't know until hearing this program that NPR reporter Jacki Lyden came from an Irish family. She talks about her aunt who is 96 and still lives in rural Ireland.

At the end Jacki Lyden banters a bit with Paddy in Gaelic and asks him to play his whistle which he brought with him. He plays "Banish Misfortune" at the end.

I think you'll enjoy hearing this interview. It opens in Real Audio.


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Subject: Chieftains on NPRadio Irish/C&W music
From: Alice
Date: 14 Oct 02 - 07:45 PM

An interview with Paddy Moloney about what he called his "Bluegrass Greengrass project" by the Chieftains on the connection between Irish music and the popularity of Country and Western music in Ireland.... National Public Radio. Look for Monday, October 14, 2002, All Things Considered to hear the audio archive of the interview and music samples.

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