The Chieftains are a traditional Irish group that formed in Dublin in 1962. Founder, Paddy Moloney composes most of the band's music, and while the line-up has changed over the years, Moloney is a staple, and the heart of the band, The current line-up consists of Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes, tin whistle, button accordion, and bodhrán; Matt Molloy on flute, tin and whistle; Kevin Conneff on bodhrán and vocals; and Seán Keane on fiddle and tin whistle. The group have performed all over the world with some of the most renowned artists in the world such as Luciano Pavarotti, the Rolling Stones, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, Roger Daltrey, Nanci Griffith, Tom Jones, Sinéad O'Connor, Natalie Merchant, Sting, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Madonna, and Willie Nelson to name but a few. The group is widely respected across all genres by their peers, has an enormous international following around the world, and is praised by the critics. Winning six Grammy Awards, with eighteen nominations, the band continues to provide excellence in their musical output.
The Chieftains success, and ability to appeal to mainstream fans, paved the way for Irish traditional music to become popular, and allowed for the exposure of Irish music to wider audiences. In 2012, the Chieftains celebrated their 50th anniversary with the release of their album, “Voice of Ages,” followed by an extensive tour. The album features collaborations with artists such as Bon Iver and The Decemberists. When The Chieftains began, it was Moloney's passion for Irish music that brought together fiddler Martin Fay, flautist Michael Tubridy, tin whistle player Seán Potts, and bodhrán player David Fallon. At first the musicians played for the sake of playing music and met infrequently as a side project. It took over ten years for The Chieftains to actually consider themselves as a group and began to play regularly, especially as various members had left, and others joined, over those ten years. The group originally attracted a folk audience in the beginning, but the musical versatility of the group members enticed audiences form all musical persuasions.
The Chieftains have performed with world-renowned symphony and folk orchestras all around the globe, and have pushed the musical boundaries of their genre by collaborating and performing with musicians from the rock, and pop world, in addition for performing for the Pope, Queen Elizabeth II, and world ambassadors. The Chieftains continue to perform and write new music.