RIP Mick Moloney

RIP Mick Moloney

Just seen this post on Facebook, from Niamh Parsons, copied from Irish Music magazine: a great tribute.

DR. MICK MOLONEY (1944-2022)
Irish Music Magazine are shocked and heartbroken to hear the passing of Dr. Mick Moloney.
Born 1944, in Limerick, Ireland, he began playing tenor banjo at 16 years of age. As a teenager he listened to American folksingers and especially enjoyed the music of the Weavers and Burl Ives. There was not a lot of traditional instrumental music being played where he lived and he used to go to neighbouring Ennis, just over the River Shannon in County Clare, to listen to music in the pubs. He tape-recorded the tunes so he could “bring them home” with him to learn them.
Growing up, he learned to sing traditional songs and to play guitar as well as mandolin and tenor banjo. During his formative years in Ireland, he played with the Emmet Folk Group, and later the Johnstons. His participation with those bands shaped his perspective on and honed his skills in Irish music. He spent five years touring and recording with the Johnstons.
Irish America were blessed when Dr. Mick Moloney arrived in 1973 and where he combined the careers of professional musician, folklorist, musicologist, teacher and arts presenter and advocate. With a Ph.D. in folklore and folklife from the University of Pennsylvania, he also taught ethnomusicology, folklore and Irish studies courses at the University of Pennsylvania, Georgetown University and Villanova University and was a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University in the Irish Studies Program and the Music Department. In 2008, he won the Golden Dozen Award for teaching excellence at NYU.
Dr. Mick Moloney will also be remembered as an accomplished singer as well as an instrumentalist and possessed a vast collection of songs and instrumental pieces from the Irish and Irish-American tradition. He is the author of Far From the Shamrock Shore: The Irish-American Experience in Song, published by Crown Publications/Random House in 2002 with an accompanying CD on Shanachie Records.
Dr. Mick Moloney recorded and produced over sixty albums of traditional music in the United States with noted traditional musicians such as Liz Carroll, Seamus Egan, Joanie Madden, Johnny McGreevy, Joe Shannon, Ed Reavy, Jack and Charlie Coen, Mike Rafferty and many others. He worked with various recording companies in doing reissues of some of the classic 78 rpm recordings of the 1920’s and acted as advisor for scores of festivals all over America and was director for 25 years of the Irish Week at Davis and Elkins WV – the first Irish music summer school in the USA. His talks at Catskills Arts Week were informative and educational and for many one of the highlights of the week each year.
He formed the group The Green Fields of America which has showcased Irish American traditional artists nationwide since 1978. He was also instrumental in forming Cherish the Ladies, the first all-woman group in the US. He has served on National Endowment for the Arts panels and tax forces and hosted three nationally syndicated series of folk music on American Public Television.
He was a performer and interviewee on the Irish Television special Bringing It All Back Home, a participant, consultant and music arranger of the PBS documentary film, Out of Ireland and a music researcher and performer on the 1998 PBS special The Irish in America: Long Journey Home.
In 1999 he was awarded the National Heritage Award from the National Endowment for the Arts – the highest official honor a traditional artist can receive in the United States by the then First Lady Hillary Clinton. In 2013 he received The Distinguished Presidential Service Award from the President of Ireland. In 2014 received the Gradam Cheoil Award from TG4 — the highest honor a traditional Irish musician can receive in Ireland. His internationally acclaimed CD’s McNally’s Row of Flats and If It Wasn’t For the Irish and the Jews, explore songs of the nineteenth and early twentieth-century popular stage in America and were both granted the prestigious Livies award for best CD of the year.
Dr. Mick Moloney was a great supporter and positive influence of Irish Music Magazine and most generous with his time over the years as he was with countless individuals and artists during his life.
Our deepest condolences to the family, extended family, cherished friends and all that knew this great man.
Ar dheis Dé go raibh a anam.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

His ‘‘Strings Attached’’ recording from the early 19080s had a major influence on my own playing, I remember wearing the LP out just playing it over and over, particularly his version of ‘‘Swedish Jig’’(Arthur Darley’s) so it was with great pleasure for me that he turned up at our Melbourne session maybe 12-14 years back. Amongst banjo players he was ‘‘banjo royalty’’. Just a lovely bloke to chat with and his knowledge about banjos and Irish music was encyclopaedic I’ve only read about his contribution to Irish music in America but it seems mind boggling what he did for so many people in terms of music, organising feisanna, getting young people involved in learning the music , recording, lecturing, broadcasting, and on and on. His skills as an organiser were perhaps only overshadowed by his skills as a banjo and mandolin player. He was also a fine singer and probably had other skills that I never knew about.
Here he is playing with The Mulcahy Family:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8P1UBSFvi80

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Took my first and last banjo workshop with him, he was really charming, super nonchalant. No agonizing over technique; want to learn how to treble? Play the Floating Crowbar as much as possible. (It’s almost an exercise in playing these trebles, for non stringed instrument people) Listened to his records plenty for inspiration, great player, and singer, and pioneer in field recording, too - all those great LPs.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

What an incredible man. Listened to a lot of fantastic recordings of him lately, very said to hear of his passing.

The world of traditional music, especially in America, will be forever poorer at his passing.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Mick was up there with Barney as a pioneer of the tenor banjo in Irish music
A great musician, he will be missed.

Dave H

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Very sad news indeed, another great gone. May he rest in peace.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

I came across his album ‘Strings Attached’ a few years ago and it really spurred me on and inspired me as a novice banjo and mandolin player. I came back to it today after hearing of his death and after three years of listening and playing. It sounds even better now I’m glad to say. Loftus Jones is a great track with beautiful mandolin and guitar accompaniment. Very sad to hear of his passing. Ar dheis de go raibh a anam.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Very sad news.

As others have mentioned, “Strings Attached” was a classic album and, although I had already just purchased a mandolin, this was what spurred me on to want to learn to play trad tunes on the instrument.

This particular tune has never left my repertoire.

https://thesession.org/tunes/3030

I also greatly appreciated his work and involvement in the American Irish music scene. He was greatly instrumental in introducing us to the likes of Liz Carroll, Cherish The Ladies and much more. I loved his recordings with Robbie O’Connell and Eugene O’Donnell too.

Unfortunately, I only got to see him live once when he was visiting Scotland a few years back. It was as part of a traditional music “holiday tour” and Mick, other musicians etc paid a visit to Robin Morton’s home in Temple. The performance was mainly for the benefit of those on the trip although it had also been advertised locally and we were lucky enough to get along there.

Condolences to all Mick’s friends and family. Also to all who loved his music.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

My first encounter with Mick Moloney’s works was during my first years into ITM. I came across a 4 CD-set named Irish Folk Favourites
https://www.discogs.com/release/6483313-Various-Irish-Folk-Favourites

I think it was the first time I heard someone with such a crisp style on plucked string instruments. For a few years, that selection of tracks was my main reference as regards melody playing on mandolin, tenor banjo and guitar. Mick Moloney also guested The Irish Tradition on their album “Corner House” which I got a while later. It played an important part in shaping my early repertoire.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Very sad news, a huge loss to Irish music, especially the scene in the USA. The very first LP record I bought by an Irish musician was Mick Moloney’s “We Have Met Together”, bought at a long-defunct record shop in Aberdeen, probably in 1972. I still have it - those are the tracks Jeff would have heard on the 4-CD set mentioned above, - and the mandolin and banjo playing still sounds as good, some 50 years later. Mick’s contribution to Irish music wasn’t just in his own music. The number of top-notch Irish musicians which he encouraged and championed in the USA is unparalleled, and that may be his legacy, as much as anything.
RIP.
This is still one of my favourite pieces of Irish dance music ever :
https://youtu.be/PvyS85k4imE

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Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Yet another giant of Irish Traditional Music we’ve lost. He was an inspiration and had influential associations with so many amazing musicians, especially here in America. Look at the list of names who’ve played with The Green Fields of America and it speaks for itself, from the earliest days of Michael Flatley, Liz Carroll, Bill Ochs, and Jack and Charlie Coen to Joanie Madden, Denis Cahill and Mike Rafferty, to the recent years with musicians like Haley Richardson. It’s hard to imagine what Irish American music would be like without his influence. He was a legendary player and keeper of the tradition IMO. RIP Mick…the world was better for having you in it.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Over the course of an hour at one of his shows, he would educate you on many aspects of trad and music in general that you probably weren’t aware of.

It’s been 20 years, however, and I still can’t figure out half his licks on Strings Attached. That album is magic.

Rest easy, Dr. Mick.

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Re: RIP Mick Moloney

A massive loss to Irish music everywhere but particularly over here in Thailand, where he was the cornerstone of all things pertaining to Irish traditional music. I have never met anyone who had such an incredible repertoire of tunes committed to memory, and an eagerness to organize, teach, and partake in sessions in various parts of Thailand. R.I.P. Mick, you will be missed more than you could imagine.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

I still have the LP Irish music from America, and always loved Dr. Mick’s banjo playing. Was absolutely delighted to find him leading a session in New York a few years ago and he was incredibly friendly. Really lovely Mam, RIP Dr. Mick.

Re: RIP Mick Moloney

Among my more pleasant memories is a traditional music retreat I attended as one of only a few Irish trad musicians. Mick and Liz Carroll were in residence and I had them both more or less to myself for three days. Both were delightful and Mick and I had some friends in common, which sparked lovely conversations. I had also seen Green Fields of America which included Robbie O’Connell, Jimmy Keane and Eileen Ivers. Mick had years earlier put out an album called Light Through The Leaves, that featured field recordings of pipes, whistle and flute (my instrument) playing solo. Included was a booklet on the instruments and a discussion of Irish style and technique. Noel Rice and Mike Rafferty were among the musicians featured. So I have many reasons to remember and mourn the loss of Mick Moloney.

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