The Chieftains

The Chieftains
The Chieftains

The Chieftains performing in 2008
Background information
Origin Dublin, Ireland
Genres Irish folk music, Celtic music
Years active 1962–present
Labels Claddagh Records, RCA Records
Associated acts Ceoltóirí Chualann
Paddy Moloney
Seán Keane
Kevin Conneff
Matt Molloy
Past members
Derek Bell
Martin Fay
Michael Tubridy
Seán Potts
Peadar Mercier
Ronnie McShane
David Fallon

The Chieftains are a Grammy-winning Irish musical group founded in 1962, best known for being one of the first bands to make Irish traditional music popular around the world.[1]



The band's name came from the book Death of a Chieftain by Irish author John Montague.[2] Assisted early on by Garech Browne, they signed with his company Claddagh Records. They needed financial success abroad, and succeeded in this, as within a few years their third album's sleeve note section was printed in three languages.


The band has recorded many albums of instrumental Irish folk music, as well as multiple collaborations with popular musicians of many genres, including Country music, Galician traditional music, Cape Breton and Newfoundland music, and rock and roll. They have performed with Luciano Pavarotti, the Rolling Stones, Ultravox, Carlos Núñez, Van Morrison, Ashley MacIsaac, Glass Tiger, Bela Fleck, Siobhán O'Brien, Moya Brennan, Mark Knopfler, Loreena McKennitt, Ry Cooder, Los Cenzontles, Mick Jagger, Elvis Costello, Roger Daltrey, Nanci Griffith, Tom Jones, Sinéad O'Connor, Natalie Merchant, James Galway, The Corrs, Art Garfunkel, Sting, Rosanne Cash, Jim White, Ziggy Marley, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Eros Ramazzotti, Kepa Junkera, Mike Gordon, Madonna, and numerous Country-western artists, including Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs, Willie Nelson, and others. In May 1986 they performed at Self Aid, a benefit concert held in Dublin that focused on the problem of chronic unemployment which was widespread in Ireland at that time. In 1994 they appeared in Roger Daltrey's production, album and video of A Celebration: The Music of Pete Townshend and The Who.

The front covers of the first four albums were designed by Edward Delaney.

Success and recognition

The group has won six Grammy Awards and have been nominated eighteen times. They have won an Emmy and a Genie and contributed tracks, including their highly-praised version of the song Women of Ireland, to Leonard Rosenman's Oscar-winning score for Stanley Kubrick's 1975 film Barry Lyndon.[1] In 2002 they were given a Lifetime Achievement Award by the UK's BBC Radio 2. Two of their singles have been minor hits in the UK Singles Chart. "Have I Told You Lately" (credited to The Chieftains with Van Morrison) reached #71 in 1995. "I Know My Love" (credited to The Chieftains featuring The Corrs) reached #37 in 2002.[3]

Dr Gearoid O hAllmhurain[4] said the success of The Chieftains has helped to place Irish traditional music on a par with other musical genres in the world of popular entertainment. By collaborating with pop and rock musicians, they have taken Irish music to a much wider audience. They have become, in effect, musical ambassadors for Ireland. This de facto role was officially recognised by the Irish Government in 1989 when it awarded the group the honorary title of Ireland's Musical Ambassadors.[1]

They played in a concert for Pope John Paul II, and an audience of more than one million people in 1979 in Phoenix Park in Dublin, to mark the Papal visit to Ireland.[1]

In 1983, they were invited by the Chinese Government to perform with the Chinese Broadcasting Art Group in a concert on the Great Wall of China, becoming the first western musical group to do so.[5] They were the first group to perform in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.; invited to do so by Senator Edward Kennedy and the former Speaker of the House, Tip O'Neill.[1]

Band members

Paddy Moloney is the band's founder and leader, and composes or arranges most of the band's music. While the band's members changed numerous times in the band's early history, the membership solidified in 1979 when Matt Molloy replaced Michael Tubridy. From then until 2002, members included:

Former members




Glatt, John (1997). The Chieftains: the Authorized Biography. New York: Da Capo. ISBN 9780306809224. 

  1. ^ a b c d e McCarthy, John Patrick (2006). Ireland: a reference guide from the Renaissance to the present. Infobase. p. 216. ISBN 9780816053780. 
  2. ^ the Chieftains - A Musical History
  3. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 104. ISBN 1-904994-10-5. 
  4. ^ Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music, pub The O'Brien Press, Dublin, p155
  5. ^ Lannert, John (6 March 1992). "An Irish Tradition For 29 Years, The Chieftains Have Been Entertaining Audiences And Attracting The Admiration Of Fellow Performers". Sun-Sentinel. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • The Chieftains — The Chieftains …   Википедия

  • The Chieftains — sind eine 1962 gegründete irische Musikgruppe. Bekannt sind sie vor allem für ihre traditionelle irische Musik. Die Band nahm viele Instrumental Alben mit Irish Folk auf. Dazu kamen noch viele Zusammenarbeiten mit Musikern unterschiedlicher… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • The Chieftains — Datos generales Origen …   Wikipedia Español

  • The Chieftains — au Festival interceltique de Lorient (Bretagne) en août 2008. Pays d’origine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • The Chieftains 4 — Chieftains 4 Studio album by The Chieftains Released 1973 …   Wikipedia

  • The Chieftains 2 — Studio album by The Chieftains Released 1969 Recorded Edinburgh, April 1969 …   Wikipedia

  • The Chieftains 3 — Chieftains 3 Studio album by The Chieftains Released 1971 Genre …   Wikipedia

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  • The Chieftains 5 — Chieftains 5 Studio album by The Chieftains Released 1975 Genre …   Wikipedia

  • The Chieftains 7 — Studio album by The Chieftains Released 1977 Genre …   Wikipedia

  • The Chieftains 4 — álbum de The Chieftains Publicación 1973 Género(s) Música celta Duración 40:08 Discográfica Claddagh Recor …   Wikipedia Español

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