If there’s one Irish group to know, it’s the Chieftains! This trad band is undeniably one of the best known and most heard band in Irish Pubs ! This band brings together all the traditional Irish instruments to create true standards of Irish trad music! To listen absolutely!

Career of the Chieftains

Birth of an Extraordinary Group

The Chieftains (“the clan”) were founded in 1963 in Milltown. It is around Paddy Moloney, former member of “The Square” that the rest of the group is grafted: Martin Fay on violin, Sean Potts on tin whistle, Michaël Trudy on flute and David Fallon on bodhràn who will be replaced from the second album by Peadar Mercier.

The band soon meets with great success, and the formation expands to include a harp for the next album (1971) with harpist Derek Bell. It’s that year that the Chieftains stand out from all the Irish bands, by a well defined style.

From then on, the irish people are tearing off their albums, and consider their music as a real revival of traditional irish music.

Success goes beyond the Irish borders

By now the band has reached international fame, and in 1975 they wrote the music for the film “Barry Lyndon”, and “Women of Ireland” toured the world. Peadar Mercier passes the hand and it is Kevin Conneff who takes over the bodhràn. In 1977, the Chieftains participated in the soundtrack of the film “Le Taxi Mauve” by Yves Boisset. The following year, the group received a Grammy for “Chieftains7” in the World Music category.

Then, a new mutation intervenes in the band: Michael Tubridy and Sean Potts leave and Matt Molloy, former member of the Planxty, arrives, and the Chieftains win their second Grammy for Boil The Breakfast Early.

Their music is exported as far as China, where they will play on the Great Wall. A first.

Paddy Moloney’s uilleann pipe was invited to play in a symphony orchestra for Tristan and Isolde’s play.

In 1986 on the order of the National Geographic Special, the band recorded “Ballad of the irish” horse. Two years later, The Chieftains started playing Breton music.

The 90s: the time of consecration

The 90s will be the decade of consecration. In 1991, it is the golden record with “The Bells of Dublin”. In 1997 the group collaborated many times with Carlos Nunez, a gaïta player, a Galician bagpipe player.

The last two albums are, “Tears of Stones” in duets, and “Water of the Well” which revives traditional music from the different regions of Ireland.