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Astronaut who recorded for the Chieftains in space pays tribute to founder Moloney

The band had sent Cady Coleman instruments to play while on a mission aboard the ISS.

AN AMERICAN ASTRONAUT who recorded the Chieftains music while aboard the International Space Station has paid tribute to the band’s founder Paddy Moloney who died yesterday aged 83. 

Cady Coleman was the first person to record music for an album in space when she played three songs for the Chieftains 50th anniversary album in 2010. 

The band had sent Coleman, who befriended Moloney in the late 90s, instruments to play while on a mission aboard the ISS.

In 2012, Coleman told the Irish Independent that with NASA’s blessing, she was able to relay the finished music back to earth via the onboard satellite phone. 

“I also recorded two traditional songs, ‘Fanny Power’ and ‘The Butterfly’ for The Chieftains’ 50th anniversary album. It was a great honour.”

Writing on Twitter yesterday, Coleman paid tribute to Moloney: “I loved playing Paddy Moloney’s tin whistle on the ISS while floating/watching earth go by.

“Paddy had the rare ability to connect w/ people across the globe & I treasured our time together. My heart is w/ his family & musical family everywhere-he/his music will forever be missed,” she said. 

Moloney’s death was confirmed yesterday afternoon. 

The piper, composer and producer was from Donnycarney in Dublin. Moloney grew up in a musical family and played various instruments including the tin whistle and uilleann pipes. He was a student of legendary piper Leo Rowsome.

Moloney originally formed The Chieftains in 1962. In their nearly six decade career they have been six-time Grammy Award winners and have been recognised internationally for reinventing Irish music and for transcending musical boundaries. 

Over the decades they collaborated or performed with artists as diverse as Emmylou Harris, The Dubliners, Tom Jones and The Rolling Stones.

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President Michael D Higgins lead the tributes: “The Irish music community, and indeed the much larger community throughout the world who found such inspiration in his work, will have learnt with great sadness today of the passing of Paddy Moloney, founder and leader of the Chieftains.

“Paddy, with his extraordinary skills as an instrumentalist, notably the uilleann pipes and bodhrán, was at the forefront of the renaissance of interest in Irish music, bringing a greater appreciation of Irish music and culture internationally.

“Not only as a consummate musician himself, but as a founder member of Claddagh Records together with Garech de Brún, he brought a love of Irish music not just to the diaspora, but to all those across the world who heard his music and appreciated it for its own sake as it transcended all musical boundaries.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin echoed the president’s statement.

He said: “So sad to hear of the passing of Paddy Moloney. The term ‘legend’ is regularly overused, but hard to think of any other way to describe this giant of Irish music and culture. GRMA Paddy for your massive contribution to the life of our nation. RIP.”

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