How many performing groups have won six Grammy Awards, celebrated their 50th anniversary, and performed at the Holland Center last Tuesday night?
Only one and that is the legendary Chieftains featuring Paddy Moloney for ninety minutes to a packed hall last Tuesday. Since this group was formed in 1962 they have toured the world bringing Irish music to everyone's attention. With some songs in English and some in a Gaelic language, the audience thoroughly enjoyed all the music whether they knew the songs or not.
Paddy Moloney led the night with his uilleann pipes and tin whistle showing that music is truly ageless. All the instrumentalists were phenomenal musicians in playing, singing, and dancing a variety of music. From their traditionally well known songs such as "Mo Ghile Mear" to country and bluegrass music, this definitely was an enjoyable evening.
Matt Molloy's flute playing is both energetic and soulful. Kevin Conneff is a true Irish tenor with a love of a ballad and storytelling through song that seems effortless while also playing a variety of percussive rhythms on the bodhran. Cara Butler and Nathan Pilatke were both phenomenal dancers. Jon Pilatzke proved that fiddlers can certainly dance. Jeff White has a distinctive style in his playing guitar and singing. He is truly a musician and he also performs with Lyle Lovett. Deanie Richardson can 'literally fiddle any song into any style and a memorable rendition of "Sweet Georgia Brown". Triona Marshall plays both the keyboards and the Irish harp. Her music is relaxing and mesmerizing. Alyth McCormack is from a Scottish isle off the northern coast of Ireland. Her soprano voice is clear with an unusual tonal quality that is both youthful yet haunting. It was truly amazing how she could enunciate the multitude of consonants from Gaelic that sounded like tongue twisters. Even though I had no clue what the words of the songs were, the songs as she sang were instant favorites with the audience and myself.
Omaha Pipe & Drums were phenomenal as they majestically joined The Chieftains on two selections and the girls from Dowd's Irish Dance Academy definitely livened the evening with their lightning fast Irish steps. Jerry Morgenson, a local accordion player, also joined the group in a few selections.
For those who could not be there, The Chieftains recently released their new CD entitled "Voice of Ages". The Deluxe Edition contains two CD’s of music and a bonus DVD. Also, I plan to purchase music by singer, Alyth McCormack and harpist, Triona Marshall. Their music is both traditional but definitely inspiring and relaxing.
You've probably heard the old saying about when you perform, to leave your audience wanting more. With only ninety performance minutes, I definitely wanted more.