Voice of Ages

If you’d wanted to buy an album by The Chieftains back when JFK was president and computers were the size of a small house, you would have gone to an establishment known as a record store. You wouldn’t have found them under “Celtic music,” or “world music” because those categories hadn’t been introduced to the American music trade yet. If the store carried The Chieftains at all, you’d have found their vinyl disc in the section known generically as “folk.” Now, of course, you can hear this Chieftains’ 50th anniversary album on compact disc, or you can download it. One thing remains constant, however: This is a great band. They laid the foundation for the appreciation of Celtic music worldwide, and they’ve taken an amazing journey of musical exploration, collaborating with musicians and musical styles from all over the world, blending the sounds of Ireland with music from nearly everywhere else. And here, on this celebratory album, they play with some of the best younger bands around—the Carolina Chocolate Drops, The Low Anthem, The Decemberists—musicians whose parents were babies when The Chieftains started. All hail The Chieftains, musical kings of the Emerald Isle.