From the Beginning: The Chieftains 1 to 4

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This four-disc compilation boxes the Chieftains’ first four albums in one set. The albums, which were first released between 1964 and 1973 on Claddagh, trace the early path of the ensemble as they discover and perfect a method of playing traditional Irish music as a band. (Prior to the Chieftains’ emergence, Irish music was a mostly solo form.) In those early years, the membership of the group was in flux. With every release, founder and uilleann piper Paddy Maloney added or subtracted musicians, searching for the perfect mix of talents that could bring the sounds in his head to life. With the addition of harpist Derek Bell on the fourth album, Maloney finally achieved his goal. Stanley Kubrick fell in love with the air “Mna na Heireann” and hired the band to score his movie Barry Lyndon, which launched them on their career as the world’s most famous traditional Irish group. –Michael Simmons

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