Still going strong
By Bernie Brian
Even though they have been playing together for over 3O years, the five members of the Chieftains obviously still enjoy it. I suppose you could excuse them if, like some successful performers, they simply went through the motions, basking in self-satisfied glory.
Apart from some terrific Irish music, it's the little comical exchanges between the members of the band and the clowning about that draw the audience to them.
Like when the small bespectacled figure of Derek Bell starts to walk off stage because founding member and uillean pipe player Paddy Moloney doesn't consider him the world's best harp player. Or when Moloney is trying to hurry each member's solo so he can finish off the show and go for a drink. Even after so many years together, a Chieftains' concert loses none of its spontaneity, warmth, humour and charm.
During the evening at the Enmore Theatre in Sydney on June 16, all members of the Chieftains, who are all accomplished musicians, were given ample room to display their talents. Bodhran player Kevin Conneff revealed his fine voice on several unaccompanied ballads, and Derek Bell showed us he is as adept at the piano as he is at the harp.
The evening's performance included songs from their Grammy-winning album, Another Country, including a unique arrangement of the song made famous by Elvis Presley, "Heartbreak Hotel".
Matt Molloy's magical flute and the combined talents of the classically trained fiddle players, Sean Keane and Martin Fay, plus a tremendous exhibition of Irish dancing, all contributed to making it a memorable night.