There are people one encounters in life who are so exceptional in so many ways. Certainly, one of those people for me was Paddy Moloney. Back in the ‘70s when I first was exposed to Celtic music, I was introduced to the sounds of The Chieftains. They, along with a couple of other bands, led an undiminished fire of love for the musical genre. It was with sadness, that I learned of his passing on October 12th. In his own right, he was a musical chieftain.
I had the great pleasure of working with Paddy and the Chieftains, starting in 1995 when I toured Japan as one of their guests. It was a wonderful and madcap adventure and I witnessed first hand how congenial, talented and generous Paddy was to artists who were still in the development phase of their careers.
I would then go on to be a guest on one of their albums when we recorded Ye Rambling Boys of Pleasure. Not long after, however, I had the sad distinction of singing at harpist Derek Bell’s funeral in Belfast. I realized then, in the face of the finality of death, I had not only seen but been profoundly touched by the fabric of a rare and precious essence – the music of the Chieftains and Paddy Moloney. And I was forever changed by it.
My last connection with this band of musical wonders was two short years ago when for the final time I was asked to share the stage with The Chieftains on their Farewell Tour in Kitchener, Canada. It was a night I will never forget. Paddy, thank you so very, very much for all that you have given so many of us. May you play on forever with that puckish Irish smile.