Paddy Moloney, Piper who led Irish music revival, dies at 83



In the 1960s and 1970s, Mr. Moloney was an executive with Claddagh Records, of which he was a founder, and produced or supervised 45 folk, traditional, classical, poetry and spoken word albums.

The Chieftains – who hit hard in the mid-1970s with sold-out concerts at London’s Royal Albert Hall – were initially strictly an ensemble of instrumentalists. But in the 1980s the band moved away from their original purism and Mr. Moloney emerged as a songwriter, writing new music steeped in Irish tradition.

The group began to mix Irish music with styles from the Celtic diaspora in Spain and Canada as well as bluegrass and country from the United States. They have collaborated with well-known rock and pop musicians and with an international assortment of musicians from places as far away as Norway, Bulgaria and China.

Alone, Mr. Moloney embarked on writing and arranging music for films including “Barry Lyndon” (1975), “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998) and “Gangs of New York” (2002).

Besides his wife and daughter, he is survived by two sons, Aonghus and Padraig; four grandchildren; and a sister, Sheila.

In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of their founding, the Chieftains teamed up with 12 folk, country, bluegrass, rockabilly and indie rock artists – including Bon Iver, the Decemberists, the Low Anthem and Imelda May – to record the album “Voice of Age.” They also embarked on a tour that ended at Carnegie Hall on St. Patrick’s Day.

“What’s going on here with these young bands,” Mr. Moloney told the New York Times at the time, explaining the concept of the album, “are they coming back to the melody, to the real stuff, to everyone’s roots and folk feeling I can hear any of them singing folk songs.


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