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The Chieftains

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The Chieftains

If there is a more beautiful musical sound in all the world than that made by The Chieftains, I haven't heard it," declared Bob Claypool, music critic of the Houston Post in a review of the band during a sold-out United States tour. The Chieftains, celebrating their 36th anniversary this year, are regarded internationally as the most popular exponents of traditional Irish music in the world. They have mined the wealth of traditional Irish music that has accumulated over the centuries, making the music their own with a distinctive style that is as exhilarating as it is definitive. Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the astonishing range and variation of their music very quickly captured a much broader public, resulting in their present fame worldwide.

That same broad appeal has encouraged artists from a variety of genres to record with The Chieftains. Released in January 1995, The Long Black Veil became the highest charting album of the band's career when it entered Billboard Magazine's Top 200 Album Chart at No. 24. The recording quickly became The Chieftains' first gold record in the U.S. for sales of 500,000 copies, topped the World Music Chart and was selected by Time Magazine as an Album of the Year. The Long Black Veil also earned a Grammy Award in the category of "Best Pop Collaboration for The Chieftains' recording of Van Morrison's "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?" The album features guest performances by Sting, Mick Jagger, Sinéad O'Connor, Marianne Faithfull, Tom Jones, Mark Knopfler, Ry Cooder and The Rolling Stones. In the midst of all of this success from pop collaborations, in typical fashion The Chieftains went on to record Santiago, which draws its inspiration from an unlikely source of Celtic music - Galicia, Spain.

An assortment of ancient instruments give each track the unique sound that won the band its fifth Grammy Award, this time for Best World Music Album in 1996. Without missing a beat, The Chieftains embarked on their most recent adventure. Tears of Stone [February 1999] was three years in the making and according to Paddy Moloney, a labor of love. "Our goal was to marry the many-faceted voices of contemporary women artists from around the world with the simple beauty of traditional Irish music." Among the guests are legendary vocalists Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell, as well as other unique singers including Natalie Merchant, Loreena McKennitt, Joan Osborne, Mary Chapin Carpenter, The Corrs and frequent Chieftains guest, Sinéad O'Connor, among others. Despite their star-studded history, the trappings of fame have not compromised The Chieftains' respect for their roots. They are as comfortable swapping tales and tunes in a Dublin pub as they are headlining a concert at London's Royal Albert Hall. Their next project will feature traditional music recorded on location in both Northern and Southern Irish counties. After 36 years and as many recordings, The Chieftains continue to surprise. Bio Courtesy of RCA Victor


 

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