The Chieftains play the Olympia Theatre to celebrate 21 years of bringing traditional Irish music to the world.

Irish traditional music band The Chieftains have performed all over the world, including China, but they are celebrating their 21st birthday in Dublin. The band are appearing at The Olympia Theatre playing their score for a production of John Millington Synge's ‘The Playboy of the Western World’ by the Irish National Ballet.

Whether playing their own music, or arrangements of traditional airs, The Chieftains put their own stamp on what they do. Founder and leader of The Chieftains, Paddy Maloney believes their appeal transcends national and language barriers because,

It has to be the music itself that talks.

To date The Chieftains have made 13 hugely successful albums. Making a living from music is not easy and to make ends meet, the band tour for six months of the year, outside of Ireland.

Flute player Matt Molloy joined The Chieftains in 1979, giving up his steady job in Aer Lingus. 

I just felt the need to express myself musically and I got the opportunity by being asked by Paddy and the lads.

Fiddler and original member of The Chieftains Martin Fay says the band enjoy each others company.

We get along pretty well, there’s never any animosity, a little bit of bitchiness and whatever, but never any punch ups.

Paddy Moloney believes this lack of internal conflict has ensured the band’s longevity.

We’ve often been described as an institution more so than a group.

The band and its music have recently come to the attention of a wider audience by appearing in an advertisement for Guinness

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 November 1984. The reporter is Alasdair Jackson.