The Chieftains

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About The Chieftains

Over the course of 60-plus years and more than 40 albums, The Chieftains have taken Irish traditional music's lively jigs, reels, and primeval airs from Dublin's smoke-filled folk clubs to the world's most prestigious concert halls. Formed by a trio of amateur enthusiasts in 1962, The Chieftains revolved around frontman Paddy Maloney's enchanted whistles and Uilleann pipes. Director Stanley Kubrick helped launch them internationally in 1975 by choosing "The Women of Ireland" from The Chieftains 4 as the ethereal, Oscar-winning theme music for Barry Lyndon. Blending fiddles, flutes, harp, pipes, whistles, and bodhran, The Chieftains reinvented their local musical tradition as impeccable chamber music. Irish Heartbeat, their 1988 collaboration with Van Morrison, established them as Celtic godfathers to the likes of Clannad and The Pogues. Collaborations with artists as eclectic as Stevie Wonder, Mick Jagger, Bon Iver, Pavarotti, Dolly Parton, The Decemberists, and The Muppets—some of whom appear on their 50th-anniversary, T-Bone Burnett-produced album Voice of Ages—convincingly demonstrate that Irish music has no boundaries. For further proof, consult Chronicles, a satisfying 60th-anniversary celebration that also serves as a eulogy to final founding member Paddy Maloney, who died in 2021.

Dublin, Ireland
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