The Long Black Veil CD. The Chieftains. Six time Grammy Award winners, the Chieftains, boast a career of more than 50 years as of 2012, and more than 100 albums. The Irish musical group has been widely recognized for reinventing Irish music on a contemporary and international scale. Their ability to transcend musical boundaries, to blend tradition with modern music has been recognized internationally. Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music and accompanying musicians quickly captured a much broader audience. As cultural ambassadors, their performances have been linked with great historic events. They were the first western musicians to perform on the Great Wall of China; participated in “The Wall” concert in Berlin in 1990, and were the first ensemble to perform a concert in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. In 2010, their experimental questing extended out of this world, when Cady Coleman, NASA astronaut, took Paddy Moloney’s whistle and Matt Molloy’s flute with her on a trip to the International Space Station, recorded herself playing these instruments as she floated weightless around her spacecraft. The musicians also have been active in their home base. In 1979, they performed for Pope John Paul II during his visit to Ireland, before an audience of over 1.3 million.
Paddy Moloney, the group’s founder and front man, first brought together a group of local musicians in Dublin in 1962. Their sound, which was almost entirely instrumental and largely built around uilleann pipes, became synonymous with traditional Irish music.
Personnel on The Long Black Veil CD are: Martin Fay, fiddle; Sean Keane, fiddle; Kevin Conneff, bodhran, vocals; Matt Malloy, flute; Derek Bell, harp, tiompan, keyboards and Moloney, uilleann pipes, tin whistle. The album was produced by Moloney. Top flight musicianship, tight harmonies and timing, and tiptop star power. The cuts are: Mo Ghile Mear (“Our Hero”), with Sting; The Long Black Veil, with Mick Jagger; The Foggy Dew, with Sinead O’Connor; Have I Told You Lately that I Love You, with Van Morrison; Changing Your Demeanour; The Lily of the West, with Mark Knopfler; Coast of Malabar, with Ry Cooder; Dunmore Lassies, with Ry Cooder; Love is Teasin’, with Marianne Faithfull; He Moved Through the Fair, with Sinead O’Connor; Ferny Hill; Tennessee Waltz/Mazurka, with Tom Jones, and The Rocky Road to Dublin, with the Rolling Stones.
It being that time of year, I just had the privilege of seeing them live down here, in Wilmington, North Carolina, and what a concert it was. Exciting. Superb musicianship, tight harmonies, perfect timing. With Moloney, Malloy and Conneff from the Long Black Veil players, plus harp, percussion, guitar, sax, mandolin. Alyth Mc Cormack, a sultry Scotswoman, on vocals, some in Gaelic; six dancers: two men, two young women, two young girls. And the choir of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, eight voices that sounded like 18. And the pipes and drums from Scotland’s prestigious Saint Andrews University: Moloney explained that they’d run into the Scottish group while touring in Mexico, and invited them to come north with them. And the Scots came. The concert was sensational; if you have a chance to see them, grab it. Meanwhile, you can’t go wrong with the album.