Where The Chieftains' Instruments Go into Space

These days, most of my writing is focused on technology, despite the fact that I’ve been working as a music journalist since 1997, for a traditional music publication called Irish Music Magazine. On Friday morning, my love of tunes and tech finally crossed paths, thanks to a conversation and interview with Paddy Moloney of the Chieftains. 

Paddy’s son works for Nasa, and because of this, he’s known Astronaut Cady Coleman for close to twenty years. Aside from having one of the coolest jobs in the world, Coleman is also a flutist. Paddy tells me:

 I get this call from her over a year ago. She was saying she was going up on the International Space Station for six months, and could she borrow a tin whistle from me for some music. Then she got a flute from Matt Molloy, a spare one that he has. They went around for 93 million miles and 156 days or something. Last March, I was in the middle of the tour, and I get this call at 10:30 on my night off. ‘This is Cady. I’m in the International Space Station and I’m just straight over you at the moment.”On St. Patrick’s Day, we were in Toronto. She sent down a whole film of herself on the internet, wishing us all a happy St. Patrick’s day, with her hair all sticking up in the air, with the flute and whistle floating around. Then she starts to play Fanny Power, an old O’Carloan tune. I used her recording of the tune and then put the band around it for the album Voice of Ages. It was to say, where are we going next with this Voice of Ages? Up into space.

How awesome is that?  I’ll save you the guess work and tell you: Very awesome.

My full interview with Paddy on the occasion of The Chieftains’s 50th anniversary will be hitting the pages of Irish Music Magazine this July.