For more than 50 years, The Chieftains have mesmerized audiences with their “timeless” Irish music. On Wednesday, March 9, the legendary group will transport an EKU Center for the Arts audience to the Emerald Isle.
The Chieftains will be joined in the performance by surprise guests, including Berea College’s Folk Roots Ensemble. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concert range from $37 to $70. A $15 ticket is available for EKU students. All tickets are available at the EKU Center Box Office (859-622-7469, weekdays 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m.) or at ekucenter.com.
The event is sponsored by The Paddy Wagon and WUKY.
Led by multi-instrumentalist and founder Paddy Moloney, the six-time Grammy Award-winning band has released nearly 60 albums and is largely credited with bringing Irish music to a worldwide audience. Over the years The Chieftains have collaborated with musicians across multiple genres – Pavarotti, Van Morrison, Ziggy Marley, Elvis Costello and Ricky Skaggs, among others. The Chieftains will perform both timeless Gaelic classics and rollicking original compositions in a crowd-pleasing concert that will bring the exhilarating sound of Ireland vividly to life.
“The Chieftains are a treasure,” said EKU Center Executive Director Joel Aalberts. “Their music is timeless, and the show is a celebration of music, dance, and Irish spirit. This is the perfect segue into the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.”
As cultural ambassadors, The Chieftains’ performances have been linked with seminal historic events. They were the first Western musicians to perform on the Great Wall of China, participating in Roger Waters’ “The Wall” performance in Berlin in 1990, and the first ensemble to perform a concert in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. In 2010, their experimental collaborations reached beyond this world, when Moloney’s whistle and Matt Molloy’s flute traveled with NASA astronaut Cady Coleman to the International Space Station.
Although their early following was purely a folk audience, the range and variation of their music and accompanying musicians quickly captured a much broader audience, elevating The Chieftains’ status to the likeness of fellow Irish band U2.
In Ireland they have been involved in many major occasions, such as Pope John Paul II’s visit to Ireland in 1979 when they performed to an audience of over 1.3 million, and in 2011 as part of the historic visit to Ireland of HRH Queen Elizabeth II. In 2012, marking The Chieftains’ 50th anniversary, the band was awarded the inaugural National Concert Hall Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of its “tremendous contribution to the music industry worldwide and the promotion of the best of Irish culture.”
Also to celebrate the milestone, The Chieftains once again invited friends from various musical styles to collaborate on their latest album, “Voice of Ages,”which featured modern artists such as Bon Iver, The Decemberists and Paolo Nutini.