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The Chieftains In China

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Album Review

Here's one for multiculturalism: In 1987, the Chieftains ventured to Beijing and Shanghai, united with Chinese ensembles and successfully fused the type of traditional Irish music they're known for with Chinese music. It seems a most unlikely combination but, in fact, the two prove quite compatible on The Chieftains in China, a superb, mostly instrumental live album. As ambitious and risk-taking as they are, none of these performances sound the least bit pretentious, forced, or contrived. Chieftains leader Paddy Moloney insightfully shows us the parallels between Chinese and Irish forms and makes the fusion sound completely organic and natural.


Formed: 1963 in Dublin, Ireland

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The original traditional Irish folk band, as far as anyone who came of age in the 1970s or '80s is concerned, is the Chieftains. Their sound, built largely on Paddy Moloney's pipes, is otherworldly, almost entirely instrumental, and seems as though it comes out of another age of man's history. That they became an international phenomenon in the '70s and '80s is testament to their virtuoso musicianship. The Chieftains were first formed in Dublin during 1963, as a semi-professional outfit, from the...
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