Ipswich: Irish music legends The Chieftains touch down at the Regent

THE Chieftains’ long-awaited return to Ipswich is going to be out of this world… literally.

Long-time fan, friend and astronaut Cady Coleman contributed a tin whistle tribute from space for their latest album Voice of Ages. The Chieftains in Orbit is one of many new tracks Regent audiences can look forward to this Saturday.

“I got this phone call from her, she was looking for a flute and tin whistle to bring with her on the International Space Station for six months,” says founder Paddy Maloney when I catch up with him just before a VIP-studded gig in Dublin.

“I’ve known her for over 20 years, my son is responsible for this, he’s a rocket scientist and he’s been with NASA down in Houston for about 11 years, he didn’t get his brains from me, let me tell you,” he laughs.

“I’ll never forget this phone call; ‘this is Cady and I’m in the International Space Station’. I said ‘now come off it Cadie you’re having me on’. I thought maybe I had a few glasses too many. She sent a video of her playing the instrument and it was just incredible; she’s just floating around and picks the flute and whistle out of the air.”

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Cadie was due to return both instruments after their millions of miles trip around the Earth at the Dublin concert celebrating their 50 years in the business.

The six time Grammy Award winners and international ambassadors of traditional Irish music have performed with many symphony and folk orchestras worldwide, breaking many boundaries by collaborating and performing with some of the biggest names in rock, pop and traditional music in Ireland and around the world.

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After so long, some might expect Paddy and the gang to rest on their admittedly well-earned laurels with a weighty box-set career overview.

That’s not the way they decided to treat this milestone, choosing to work with some of modern music’s fastest rising artists on Voice of Ages.

“There seems to be a great interest in the fact we’ve gone down this road,” says Paddy.

“It’s sort of like when we joined up with people of our own generation -- Sting, Van Morrison, and the Rolling Stones – who have been on our albums in the past. This time, it’s newer groups. We met up and we had a great time.”

Collaborations range from indie rock like Bon Iver, The Decemberists and The Low Anthem, country and Americana in the shape of The Civil Wars, Pistol Annies, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Punch Brothers to Irish and Scottish folk including Imelda May, Lisa Hannigan and Paolo Nutini.

Rounding out the album is a reunion with original members Michael Tubridy and Se�n Potts.

It’s been a while since their last visit to Ipswich and Paddy can’t wait.

“We have a great crew. We have some special guests and some young people there to boot up us old guys and get us going and some dancing that is just out of this world.

“I’ve music still to continue with, I’m not finished yet,” he laughs.

“The one great thing is the concerts. They’re very lively, very funny, lots of humour, lots of dancing, lots of singing and, of course, lots of great music.”

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