Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Song of the Week: The Chieftains

So. . . .  St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend.  Americans have somehow turned a religious holiday into  a day of debauchery. Go us. We aren’t called a superpower for nothing.  But because I do have Irish heritage in my family tree, and because I kinda ran away to Ireland a couple of years ago, and because I don’t partake of libations, I have to class up my March 17th festivities. I feel I owe Ireland a little bit more respect.

No matter where I am in my gypsy travels, I try to attend a musical performance around St. Patrick’s Day since I believe that music is the heart of the Irish culture. When my sister lived in Boston, I would go up there and attend one of the big Dropkick Murphys brouhahas. I was tempted to go this year, but then Boston and I had a lovers’ spat. I have been lucky enough to see other great Irish and Irish-American bands in other cities along my rambles.  This year, however, may just take the cake or blood pudding as it be.  On Friday, I will be onstage with the Chieftains during the DC stop of their 50thAnniversary tour.  Ok, technically, I will be up in the choristers seats behind them, but also technically, that’s still on the stage.

The Chieftains was founded by Paddy Moloney in 1962 and has been accredited for bringing traditional Irish music to an international audience. To say that they are a respected and influential band is like calling the Rocky Mountains ant hills.  Earlier this year the album Voice of Ages was released. This is a great collaborative project bringing together the Chieftains and (modern? current? popular? indie?) performers such as The Punch Brothers (coming to DC April 27!), The Decemberists, Bon Iver, and The Low Anthem among others.  I think it is pretty safe to say that a great deal of Irish music is about storytelling, ok, well maybe that’s all music. I love the idea of the older wiser generation passing down their stories, their songs to the youngsters who will hopefully do the same when they are the old wise ones. A beautiful circle.

Trailer for Voice of Ages, narrated by Paddy himself: 

Another favorite (older) Chieftains collaboration is "The Foggy Dew" with Sinead O’Conner. This is probably a favorite due to brainwashing by DKM who play it over the house speakers right before they come on stage. The song tells of the Easter Uprising of 1916 and has both the beauty and fierceness of the Irish people and culture.

1 comment :

  1. I'm a huge fan of their song La Iguana (featuring Lila Downs). So LUCKY you are going to their concert!