Paddy Moloney, Piper Who Led Revival of Irish Music, Dies at 83
In the 1960s and ’70s, Mr. Moloney was an executive of Claddagh Records, of which he was a founder, and produced or oversaw 45 folk, traditional, classical, poetry and spoken-word albums.
The Chieftains — who hit it big in the mid-1970s with sold-out concerts at the Royal Albert Hall in London — were strictly an instrumentalist ensemble at first. But in the 1980s the band pivoted from their early purism, and Mr. Moloney emerged as a composer, writing new music steeped in Irish tradition.
The group began to blend Irish music with styles from the Celtic diaspora in Spain and Canada as well as bluegrass and country from the United States. They collaborated with well-known rock and pop musicians and with an international assortment of musicians from places as far-flung as Norway, Bulgaria and China.
On his own, Mr. Moloney branched into writing and arranging music for films, including “Barry Lyndon” (1975), “Babe: Pig in the City” (1998) and “Gangs of New York” (2002).
In addition to his wife and daughter, he is survived by two sons, Aonghus and Padraig; four grandchildren; and a sister, Sheila.
In 2012, on the 50th anniversary of their founding, the Chieftains teamed up with 12 folk, country, bluegrass, rockabilly and indie rock artists — including Bon Iver, the Decembrists, the Low Anthem and Imelda May — to record the album “Voice of Ages.” They also embarked on a tour that ended at Carnegie Hall on St. Patrick’s Day.
“What’s happening here with these young groups,” Mr. Moloney told The New York Times at the time, explaining the album’s concept, “is they’re coming back to the melody, back to the real stuff, the roots and the folk feeling of them all. I can hear any of them singing folk songs.”