The world of traditional music has paid tribute to Chieftains piper, Paddy Moloney, who died on Monday at the age of 83.
The acclaimed multi-instrumentalist was a leading contributor to the revival of Irish folk and traditional music. The band he founded, The Chieftains became one of the best-known Irish traditional groups in the world.
Born in Donnycarney, north Dublin, Moloney grew up in a musical family. He learned to play uilleann pipes and tin whistle as a child, learning from the piper Leo Rowsome. After he left school he worked for a building supplies company and used the wages to help further his career in music. After playing in a few folk groups, in 1962 he formed The Chieftains.
Moloney also arranged and produced music. He co-founded Claddagh Records in 1959 and later became a producer for the label, supervising the recording of 45 albums. He later became managing director of the label.
Moloney also wrote film scores and appeared as a guest performer on recordings with musicians such as Paul McCartney, Art Garfunkel, Van Morrison, Dolly Parton, the Rolling Stones, Frank Zappa, Stevie Wonder, Sting and Emmylou Harris.
Ireland’s Minister for Culture, Arts and the Gaeltacht, Catherine Martin said: “We have lost a giant of the national cultural landscape. Through The Chieftains he brought the joy of Irish music to a global audience. His music was a source of celebration and pride for all of us.”
The Irish Traditional Music Archive said that Moloney, “made an enormous contribution to Irish traditional music, song and dance” and that few people can lay claim to having the level of impact he had on the vibrancy of traditional music throughout the world.
The chairman of Ireland’s Arts Council, Kevin Rafter, said: “Paddy Moloney’s unique style of uilleann piping is one of the most instantly recognisable sounds of Ireland. From his early days with Ceoltóirí Chualann to the ground-breaking and award-winning music with The Chieftains, Paddy has been a constant in our lives for decades and has been instrumental in bringing our rich traditional music to audiences across the globe.”
Fiddler Duncan Chisholm said: “The great Paddy Moloney has left us. He was a wonderful man, a true champion of Irish music. So glad to have met him along the way.”
Uilleann-piper, Blackie O’Connell tweeted simply: “Thank you for the amazing legacy you left on our music.”
A memorial to the Gordon Highlanders was unveiled on Sunday at the National Memorial Arboretum.
Stuart Samson MBE, who was the famous regiment’s last Pipe Major, piped at the unveiling.
Also in attendance were the Lord Provost of Aberdeen and the Lord Lieutenants of Aberdeenshire, Banffshire and Kincardineshire.
Sculpted from local material to identify with the Gordon Highlanders, the memorial was carved by Speyside sculptor, Stuart Murdoch.
The London Scottish Pipes and Drums also played at the ceremony.
The National Memorial Arboretum is a British site of national remembrance and is located in Staffordshire, England.
Scotland’s piping and drumming instructors and teachers are invited to meet and collaborate on different piping and drumming topics in December.
The Pipes and Drums In Schools Forum and Workshop is being organised by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust and the National Piping Centre. It will take place on December 2 at the National Piping Centre Otago Street (the former College of Piping building) and also via videoconference software.