“Music this beautifully articulated allows cultures to talk to one another across time, space, language, and other divides.”
“The Chieftains may be the world’s most popular Irish traditional folk group, but, over the years, they’ve become something like a musical genealogical society, climbing out onto the branches of Celtic music’s family tree and plucking delicious fruit. From the Chieftains’ perspective, the music of the Irish can be found all over the world, and they’ve made a convincing argument of it over the course of 42 years and 41 albums.”
St. Paul Pioneer Press
“The Chieftains have arrived with one of the best country albums of the year (Voice of Ages) – the country in question, of course, being just a bit east of the U.K., where Ireland’s traditional music can sound awfully darned Appalachian, when it comes down to it.”
“Celebrating their 50th anniversary this year, the lads are touring behind their new “Voice of Ages” album; they seem ageless, and so does their Irish music. And if common sense tells you they can’t go on forever, you wouldn’t know it from their electrifying performance.”
This year marks 58 years since The Chieftains began their illustrious journey. Since 1962 the six-time Grammy Award winners have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and International scale. Their ability to transcend musical boundaries to blend tradition with modern music has notably hailed them as one of the most renowned and revered musical groups to this day.
As cultural ambassadors, their performances have been linked with seminal historic events, such as being the first Western musicians to perform on the Great Wall of China, participating in Roger Water’s “The Wall” performance in Berlin in 1990, and being the first ensemble to perform a concert in the Capitol Building in Washington DC. In Ireland they have been involved in many major occasions, including Pope John Paul II’s visit in 1979 when they performed to an audience of over 1.3 million, and in 2011 as part of the historic visit to Ireland of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. In 2010, their experimental collaborations extended to out of this world, when Paddy Moloney’s whistle and Matt Molloy’s flute travelled with NASA astronaut, Cady Coleman, to the international space station. More recently in Japan, The Chieftains were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the 2017 Ireland Japan Business Awards. And in 2018, Paddy was awarded the prestigious Encomienda de la Orden del Mérito Civil (Commander of the Order of Civil Merit) by the Ambassador of Spain.
Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music and accompanying musicians quickly captured a much broader audience, elevating their status to the likeness of fellow Irish band, U2.
To celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2012, The Chieftains once again invited friends from all musical styles to collaborate on their most recent album, Voice of Ages. Featuring some of modern music’s fastest rising artists (Bon Iver, The Decemberists and Paolo Nutini among them), this album is proof that their music transcends not only stylistic and traditional boundaries, but generational as well. This same year they were awarded the inaugural National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award at a gala event in Philadelphia hosted by The American Ireland Fund “in recognition of their tremendous contribution to the music industry worldwide and the promotion of the best of Irish culture.”
The Chieftains are never afraid to shock purists and push genre boundaries and the trappings of fame have not altered The Chieftains’ love of, and loyalty to, their roots. However, they are as comfortable playing spontaneous Irish sessions as they are headlining a concert at Carnegie Hall. After fifty-eight years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, The Chieftains’ music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began.