Same day, different Paddy

From the Playboy Blog, 3/20/08

chieftains.jpgAs Conor and Rocky pointed out on Monday, the idea that U2 has come to represent Ireland’s music is heresy to us Irish Americans. So this St. Patrick’s Day I found myself craving some real Irish melody, or as my dear mother calls it, “deedly-dee music.” As luck would have it, The Chieftains were tuning up just down the street at Carnegie Hall, so I headed over to celebrate my heritage the traditional way.

The Chieftains have certainly been around a while. They’ve played with the likes of Joni Mitchell and fellow Irishman Van Morrison, and as head man Paddy Moloney pointed out at the beginning of the show, they’ve been together one year longer than the Rolling Stones. But despite their age they performed with energy, passion, and stamina—the show went on for almost three hours. Their whirlwind fiddle, flute, and whistle licks showed that they hadn’t lost any dexterity or lung capacity, and my distant kinsman Michael Conneff mixed a clear tenor voice with some salty Irish humor.

A few songs did feature young guns like Alyth McCormack, whose vocal acrobatics earned her a pass for being a Scot, and a group of tap dancers who had the ushers running for fire extinguishers. But in the end it was the showmanship of the four gray-haired original Chieftains—Moloney, Conneff, flutist Matt Molloy and fiddler Sean Keane—that stole the show. Bono can have his spotlight, but these old micks can still out-deedle him any day…especially St. Paddy’s.

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