Chieftains major coup for NAFCO

Paddy Maloney, Chieftains, launches the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention at the Great Hall, Magee, which takes place from June 27 to July 1st 2012. Included, are Annemarie Rodgers, project officer, Donegal Local Development Company, Andrew Ward, Inishowen Development Partnership, Fionnuala Bradley, Liz Doherty, director, NAFCo 2012, Caoimhín mac áoidh, CEO, DLDC and Frank Kelly, rdp manager, DLDC. (0112SL02) Photo: Stephen Latimer
Paddy Maloney, Chieftains, launches the North Atlantic Fiddle Convention at the Great Hall, Magee, which takes place from June 27 to July 1st 2012. Included, are Annemarie Rodgers, project officer, Donegal Local Development Company, Andrew Ward, Inishowen Development Partnership, Fionnuala Bradley, Liz Doherty, director, NAFCo 2012, Caoimhín mac áoidh, CEO, DLDC and Frank Kelly, rdp manager, DLDC. (0112SL02) Photo: Stephen Latimer

The organisers of NAFCO 2012 have pulled off a major coup in securing the Chieftains as the headline act next year, as the spotlight will be on the Grammy-winning band in their 50th anniversary year.

And their NAFCO gig promises to be one very special night for a special venue - the Plaza in Buncrana on Sunday 1st July, expected to be a high-speed sell-out. As well as the full Chieftains’ show, including dancers from Canada, the concert will also include several other top international acts.

Tickets for NAFCO events are expected to go on sale in March.

Paddy Moloney performed the NAFCO launch in Derry on Wednesday just two days after arriving back in the country from California, where the finishing touches are being applied to an extra-special Chieftains 50th anniversary album featuring a slew of well-known guests.

He told the Journal that the 50th anniversary album, ‘Voice of Ages’, will include songs recorded with chart-topping Meteor award winning Paolo Nutini, Irish Meteor award winner Imelda May and acclaimed US band Bon Iver. The Decemberists and Lisa Hannigan also on the track lists.

The album, co-produced by Paddy and T-Bone Burnett, is being released on 21st February via Starbucks Hear Music label. The release will be followed by a US tour in February and March, including a St Pat’s Day performance in Carnegie Hall.

The Chieftains’ gig in Buncrana is part of a European tour next summer.

-“I think we’re in Paris or somewhere the night before, but we wanted to make this happen”, said Paddy.

It was a strange coincidence that saw Paddy Moloney arrive in the Great Hall just over a week after the appearance there of the poet John Montague, whose short story ‘Death of a Chieftain’ is said to have given the Chieftains their name. Both Montague and Moloney were around for the beginnings of the Claddagh Records label, whose second LP release was the first recording by the band.

From relatively modest beginnings, the Chieftains have become the most acclaimed Irish traditional band ever, with six Grammys, 18 Grammy nominations, and a host of awards and achievements. They played to an audience of more than a million people in a concert for Pope John Paul II in Phoenix Park in Dublin in 1979. Four years later they were the first western group invited to play on the Great Wall of China. They were the first group to perform in the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., invited to do so by Senator Edward Kennedy and the former Speaker of the House, Tip O’Neill, who had strong Inishowen connections.

Their collaborations are legendary. Last year they released an album with Ry Cooder, and they’ve worked with a long list of stars, including Luciano Pavarotti, the Rolling Stones, Ultravox, Van Morrison, Mark Knopfler, Tom Jones, James Galway, Art Garfunkel, Sting, Ziggy Marley, Lyle Lovett, Jackson Browne, Madonna, Earl Scruggs, Ricky Skaggs and Willie Nelson.