Paddy Moloney was an uilleann pipe & tin whistle player from Donnycarney, Dublin, and the founder of influential traditional Irish music band The Chieftains, . He started playing music at the age of six, initially learning the tin whistle before moving on to the uilleann pipes. His early training included lessons from Leo Rowsome.

In 1962, Moloney formed The Chieftains with the aim of exploring and presenting traditional Irish music. The group’s first album was released in 1964, marking a significant moment in the modern history of Irish folk music. Moloney’s role in the band was multifaceted; he was not only a musician but also a composer and the primary driving force behind the group’s direction.The Chieftains, under Moloney’s leadership, expanded the reach of Irish music internationally. Moloney was known for his efforts in merging Irish music with other genres, leading to collaborations with artists from various musical backgrounds, including Van Morrison and The Rolling Stones.

Moloney also contributed to film and theater music, composing scores for projects like “Barry Lyndon” and “The Year of the French.” These compositions helped introduce Irish music to a broader audience. Throughout his career, Moloney was recognized for his commitment to preserving the cultural heritage of Irish music. He viewed it as a medium for expressing the history and emotions of the Irish people, a perspective that influenced his approach to music creation and curation.

Paddy Moloney passed away on October 11, 2021. His work with The Chieftains and his various collaborations played a significant role in promoting Irish traditional music globally. His contributions have had a lasting impact on the genre, influencing many musicians and shaping the perception of Irish music worldwide.

Image: Chris Boland

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