Paddy Moloney, the Chieftains’ Leader and Co-Founder, Dies at 83

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Paddy Moloney, the Chieftains’ Leader and Co-Founder, Dies at 83

Moloney led the band to popularize Irish traditional music around the world

MADRID SPAIN  JUNE 25 Paddy Moloney from the band The Chieftains performs on stage during Las Noches Del Botanico at...

Javier Bragado

Paddy Moloney, leader and co-founder of Irish traditional music greats the Chieftains, has died. The news was announced today by the Irish Traditional Music Archive. He was 83.

Moloney was a multi-instrumentalist who played tin whistle, the Uilleann pipes, button accordion, and bodhrán. He formed the Chieftains in 1962, and the band spent five decades releasing albums. Their enormous body of work earned them multiple Grammy Awards.

The Chieftains and Moloney collaborated with musicians across borders and genres, releasing country albums, a 2010 album in collaboration with Ry Cooder called San Patricio that topped the Latin Albums chart, and more. Their last studio album Voice of Ages, released in 2013, featured collaborations with Bon Iver, the Decemberists, Pistol Annies, the Civil Wars, and others. Their last performance was in Philadelphia on St. Patrick’s Day of 2020.

“Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uileann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally,” Ireland President Michael Higgins wrote in a statement. “His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world.”

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