Few bands are more ingrained in Celtic music tradition than The Chieftains. You hear ’em at folk fests and St. Paddy’s Day parties, piping through authentic Irish pubs and during PBS concert broadcasts. Still going strong after 47 years, the Dublin sextet is led by founder/arranger Paddy Moloney, who plays tin whistle and Uilleann pipes. This spirited DVD, shot using modest camera work and lighting at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, finds the seasoned musicians playing with nuance and authority. Step dancers appear throughout to elevate the proceedings a few giddy notches. A jovial Moloney pokes fun at his bandmates and quips that one song is about “an illness you get when you drink too much Guinness; it’s called a hangover.” Coming off two successful releases—the gold-selling, superstar pop/rock collaboration The Long Black Veil (1995) and Spanish-influenced Santiago (1996)—the Chieftains’ set here includes several enthralling tracks from both Grammy-winning collections (“Have I Told You Lately,” “Rocky Road to Dublin,” “Guadalupe”), plus old favorites (“Give Me Your Hand,” an epic “Did You Ever Go a Courtin‘ Uncle Joe”—where everyone gets to solo). Crank up the surround sound and take a trip to the Emerald Isle.
The Chieftains: Live at Montreux 1997, Eagle Rock Entertainment. 85 min. List price $14.98. Releases Sept. 1.