Paddy Moloney and the rest of the Chieftains will celebrate their 50th anniversary as a band, releasing their latest CD, Voice of Ages (made in collaboration with a slew of relative youngsters including Bon Iver, the Decemberists, the Punch Brothers, and Pistol Annies) and performing at the Soka Performing Arts Center on Saturday, February 18.
We have a full-length feature on Moloney coming out in this week's print edition–but here we have the bits of the interview that didn't make it to print, including facts about the Chieftains' early years and migrating to Florida.
OC Weekly: You [talked about] about your complete surprise that the Chieftains caught on. Back then traditional Celtic music wasn't very popular. Even when you were learning to play instruments in the 1950s, traditional music had fallen out of favor, right?
Paddy Moloney: There was a great fear going on in the '40s and the '50s. Old people were trying to pass it down to the younger people. There were two music clubs just for Irish music, and you were taught it in school, but Bill Haley and the Comets and rock and roll were taking it all over. Even in my teens I got a lot of medals for playing [traditional music] but I listened to all sorts then, even Lonnie Donegan. I had a skiffle group of my own called the Three Squares. To this day I still use what I learned in school. [He sings do-re-me.]
A couple of years ago you were talking about doing the band's 50th anniversary up right with a big show in Belfast. Is that still on?
Yeah. The Belfast Music Festival. It's still on. We're gonna be playing this year with a symphony orchestra. They're bringing us back next year.
Belfast is a long way from Florida.
Moloney: “We're only [in Florida] for three or four months each year. The weather is good for my wife's health. By the end of April, we're back to Dublin. Ireland's a pretty good place. I don't think I'll ever leave.