By David Young, PA
President Michael D Higgins has led tributes to founding member of The Chieftains Paddy Moloney, who has died at the age of 83.
In a statement this morning, the Irish Traditional Music Archive confirmed his death, stating that he “made an enormous contribution to Irish traditional music, song and dance” and that “few people can lay claim to having the level of impact Paddy Moloney had on the vibrancy of traditional music throughout the world”.
President Higgins said he was an “extraordinary” musician.
“The Irish music community, and indeed the much larger community throughout the world who found such inspiration in his work, will have learnt with great sadness today of the passing of Paddy Moloney, founder and leader of the Chieftains,” he said.
“Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uileann pipes and bodhran, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally.
“Not only as a consummate musician himself, but as a founder member of Claddagh Records together with Garech de Brun, he brought a love of Irish music not just to the diaspora, but to all those across the world who heard his music and appreciated it for its own sake as it transcended all musical boundaries.
“His work as a producer was a contribution of great integrity, undertaken to promote the music itself at a time when the commercial benefits of doing so were limited.
“His legacy will remain with us in the music which he created and brought to the world.”
Minister for Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media Catherine Martin said “we have lost a giant of the national cultural landscape” in a statement about the musician on Twitter.
With the passing of Paddy Moloney, we have lost a giant of the national cultural landscape. Through the Chieftains, he brought the joy of Irish music to a global audience. His music was a source of celebration and pride for all of us. Suaimhneas síoraí dá anam. pic.twitter.com/ivxXpQSWcM
— Catherine Martin TD (@cathmartingreen) October 12, 2021
The Dublin musician played a key role in the revival of traditional Irish folk music.
Moloney founded The Chieftains in Dublin in 1963, alongside the original lineup of Seán Potts (tin whistle), Martin Fay (fiddle), David Fallon (bodhrán), and Mick Tubridy (flute).
The membership changed throughout the years but Moloney's leadership continued to bring success for the group.
Dubliner Moloney began learning the tin whistle at six years old, and the uilleann pipes at the age of eight.
Moloney is survived by his wife Rita and his children Aonghus, Padraig and Aedin.