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BMG Music presents
The Chieftains: An Irish Evening (2000)

"Not bad, not bad at all."
- Paddy Molony

Review By: Jeff Ulmer   
Published: March 11, 2001

Stars: Paddy Molony, Derek Bell, Matt Malloy, Kevin Conneff, Martin Fay, Seˆ°n Keane
Other Stars: Nanci Griffith, Roger Daltrey, Jean Butler, Billy Nichols, Clive Cuthbertson, Dave Early
Director: David Donaghy

Manufacturer: Sonopress
MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (Raucous Irish music, dancing girls and a wee bit of language, some of it Gaelic)
Run Time: 00h:59m:38s
Release Date: October 24, 2000
UPC: 090266091690
Genre: celtic

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
A- AA-A- D

DVD Review

Although my personal musical tastes are quite diverse, I would favor the Celtic pop stylings of groups like The Corrs, The Barra McNeals or The Rankin Family over more traditional Irish folk music. What makes viewing a group like The Chieftains interesting for me is the range of instruments they perform on, and the varied nature of their music, which ranges from solo a cappella performances to the many styles of Celtic music. The group are seasoned performers, and as such connect with their audience with humor and wit in the song introductions, and each band member is allowed to show their character, though some, like harpist Derek Bell, stick out more than others. This disc features the group live at the Grand Opera House in Belfast, Ireland from performances on July 31st and August 1, 1991.

The show opens with the band in full swing, for an opening medley of Paddy's Jig/O'Keefes/Chattering Magpie, with World Champion dancer Jean Butler performing on the latter reels. After the band (Paddy Molony - uilleann pipes, tin whistle, Derek Bell - harp, piano, harpsichord, Matt Malloy - flute, Kevin Conneff - bodhrˆ°n, vocals, Martin Fay - fiddle and Sean Keˆ°ne - fiddle) is introduced by Paddy, Kevin Konneff steps up to the mic for a wonderful a capella rendition of North Americay. Next up is the fun little Around the House and Mind the Dresser, after which we are introduced to singer/songwriter Nanci Griffith, who accompanies the band on her Little Love Affairs, then picks up the guitar for the traditional Red Is The Rose. Derek Bell moves from harp to piano for Lilly Bolero/The White Cockade and the next medley of O Muchu's Hornpipe and Sliabh Geal gChau na Fiele, where fiddler Martin Fay takes center stage for the solo. Jean Butler returns to dance for Independent Hornpipe, and the band then moves from Irish folk to a song from China which features Derek on tiompˆ°n (hammered dulcimer), Full Of Joy. Flautist Matt Malloy then takes the spotlight for The Mason's Apron. Another guest artist is then introduced in the form of The Who's Roger Daltrey, who does his best to poke fun at the band before tackling the traditional Raglan Road and one he's a little more familiar with, Who staple, Behind Blue Eyes, accompanied by Billy Nichols on harmony voice. The closing medley rounds the evening off with Rachamid a Bhean Bhead with everyone returning to the stage, and each Chieftain taking a turn for the solo, and Nanci Griffith and Roger Daltrey taking another turn at the mic.

This is a wonderful evening of song and dance, interspersed with Paddy Molony's tales and witticisms tying the performance together. This is solid evidence of the level of artistry present in this well achieved collection of individuals, who collectively carry the torch for traditional Irish song. Their musicianship is unrivalled, and their skill as performers finds them at home giving their best to a receptive audience. This DVD presents the range of their concert in full splendor, and is a fitting addition to any musical library, where the best of the genre can be appreciated.

Rating for Style: A-
Rating for Substance: A


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes

Image Transfer Review: The Chieftains - An Irish Evening is presented in its original 1.33:1 aspect ratio. As a video sourced recording, the image is clear and free from any dust or dirt. Black levels and color saturation are excellent, though, more due to the stage lighting than a transfer problem, occasionally the members of the band are lost in the dark of the background.

Image Transfer Grade: A-


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital

Audio Transfer Review: We are presented with two audio tracks, a stereo recording, which sounds very good, with full frequency range, though leaning a bit on the treble side, and a 5.1 mix, which adds extra ambience to the rear channels. Through the musical performances the sound of both is fine, but the dialogue between songs is occasionally hard to discern on the 5.1 mix, and the audience applause has an artificially enhanced sound to it. For the most part, the instrumentation has good separation, though there are occasions, like any live situation, where certain instruments get somewhat buried in the mix. Overall, we have a very decent presentation here. Do note that the stereo track will not translate to Prologic decoding.

Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Music/Song Access with 14 cues and remote access
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Select discography
Extras Review: The only real extras are a select discography featuring 13 album covers with catalogue numbers. The song selection menus do feature full motion inserts with background music.

Extras Grade: D


Final Comments

Ireland's finest on a DVD, captured in their own element before a live audience. An entertaining hour of traditional, and not so traditional, song and dance. A must for Celtic music lovers, and a fine addition for anyone who appreciates fine musicianship and an all round good time.


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