Paddy Moloney and The Chieftains, Ireland’s Grammy Award-winning musical ambassadors, came to New York in the weeks following September 11, to play at the memorial service for Matthew O’ Mahony, a merchant banker for Cantor Fitzgerald. “He never missed any of our concerts,” said Paddy.
Matthew’s wife Lauren, who had met the band through her work with Island Records, asked them to play at what she called a “Celebration of Life” for the man she said had lived life so fully. Paddy said that they could not decline.
The Chieftains came to New York for Lauren, but over his two-day visit, Paddy touched many hearts.
Down on Ground Zero the morning after Matthew’s funeral, he played his tin whistle. Surrounded by a small group of Irish cops, friends and his daughter Edín, Paddy played the haunting “Táimse I mo Chodladh” (I am asleep), an Irish wake song.
“When I left the service yesterday, I knew my work here was not done, I felt my visit was not complete” he said. “I hadn’t planned to play those tunes, I hadn’t rehearsed. Then as I played, the mechanics of the music disappeared and my heart went into it. I felt I saw them all — the faces, faces without images.”
Paddy ended his visit to Ground Zero with a tune called “Dochas” (Hope). ♦