Twenty years ago, traditional Celtic music was something of a quaint curiosity, even in Ireland. Since then, its popularity has soared, thanks in no small measure to The Chieftains.
Besides winning a Grammy last year for Best Traditional Folk Album, its sixth, the group in late February released its Water From the Well CD, a collection of songs from all over Ireland.
In 1999, the group released Tears of Stone, one of the first big Celtic cross-over successes. Tears of Stone features performances with women stars including Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt, Sinead O'Connor and Mary-Chapin Carpenter. The group, along with fiddle player Eileen Ivers, visited with CBS News Saturday Morning's Russ Mitchell in 1999 to discuss that album (and perform).
Paddy Moloney, leader of the group, said The Chieftains did an all-female project with those singers because, "A lot of them are friends of mine, and the rest just have great voices."
"Their interpretations of the old Irish songs were just perfect," he said.
Billboard magazine in its review of Tears of Stone wrote, "The songs are about women and love, and the collaborations among the Chieftains and their guests are characteristically astonishing - aproject that deserves every bit of praise it will undoubtedly receive."
Eileen Ivers, who performed with The Chieftains, came to prominence as the featured fiddle player with the famous Riverdance show. She performs on one of the album cuts and was touring with the group.
Moloney explained, "We have a track of ladies from all around the world playing the fiddle. We call it our 'Fiddling Ladies' track."
Tears of Stone was a follow-up to the successful The Long Black Veil, in which the group teamed up with Sting, Mick Jagger and Tom Jones.
Members of The Chieftains are Paddy Moloney (uileann pipes), Martin Fay (fiddle), Sean Keane (fiddle), Derek Bell (harp), Kevin Conneff (bodhran) and Matt Molloy (flute).
Copyright 1999 CBS. All rights reserved.
CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff