TIME flies when you’re having fun. And, musically speaking, there is nothing as much fun as listening to the Chieftains in full flow.
And the fun has kept flowing for 50 remarkable years.
For the band is celebrating their golden milestone with a groundbreaking album and a gruelling tour which takes in Sheffield next week.
Their Voice of Ages album finds the band teaming up with some of music’s fastest rising artists, reinterpreting a wide range of great songs.
Said founder and pipe supremo Paddy Moloney: “There seems to be a great interest in the fact that we’ve gone down this road. It’s sort of like when we joined up with people of our own generation – Sting, Van Morrison, and the Rolling Stones – who have been on our albums in the past. But this time, it’s newer groups. We met up and we had a great time.”
Collaborations included Bon Iver, The Decemberists, The Low Anthem, The Civil Wars, Pistol Annies, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Punch Brothers, Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan and Paolo Nutini.
It is a great, infectious album and a fitting testimony to 50 wonderful years of music making by the band.
Moloney and bandmates Matt Molloy, Kevin Conneff and Seán Keane (pictured above) will be joined for the tour by harpist Triona Marshall and guitarist Tim Edey for the tour.
This inquisitive nature of the band reflects their growth over the years, which has seen them play on the Great Wall with Chinese musicians, record with country musicians in Nashville, and in a brilliant fusion of the Mexican and Irish folk traditions co-produced with Ry Cooder in California and Mexico.
Generally regarded as a traditional band, The Chieftains are anything but. Moloney is as studio savvy as any modern musician, skillfully fusing traditional reels and modern tunes into timeless songs.
The band’s 1975 concert at the Royal Albert Hall, following the breakout success of its music in Stanley Kubrick’s Barry Lyndon, that allowed them to transcend its folk music tag, leading it to play the greatest concert halls in the world again and again -- this year’s performance at Carnegie Hall will be their 20th appearance.
“It just keeps on going,” Moloney says of the band. “I’m already looking ahead at 2013. Retirement is something I should be thinking of, but I think it’s going to be a boots on job with me – I’ll go out with my boots on.”
THE Chieftains are at the City Hall next Wednesday.
ANNA Shannon will be at the Rock@Maltby, Wesley Centre, Blyth Road, next Friday. Tomorrow’s guest is Steve Tilston.
NANCY Kerr and James Fagan are at Chesterfield Folk Club, Club Chesterfield, next Friday.
THE combined talents of Boo Hewerdine and Brooks Williams promise a great evening of music at the Greystones on Sunday.
DAVID Thomas Broughton is at the Greystones on Wednesday. His live shows catching him roaming through the crowd, using furniture as percussion!
BOY on a Dolphin’s John Reilly and keyboard player Lewis Nitikman play Letwell Village Hall on Saturday.