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Matt Molloy

What hasn’t Matt Molloy done in Irish traditional music? He’s played with just about every legend and supergroup of Irish trad music, including Bothy Band, Planxty, and The Chieftains, and recorded four memorable solo albums.

Matt was born in Ballaghadereen, County Roscommon. This area of North Connacht is famed for its fiddle- and flute-playing tradition, and he is a third-generation flute player in his family. Matt began playing at age 8, and won the All-Ireland championship at 18. In the mid-sixties he moved to Dublin, where he appeared with the top groups in the city and quickly earned a reputation as one of Dublin’s leading traditional musicians and session men. When the folk scene exploded in the 1970s, Matt Molloy became a founding member of the Bothy Band (who recorded three albums from 1975-1978), and played with Planxty on three albums recorded in 1979 and 1980.

Matt became acquainted with Paddy Moloney, resulting in an invitation for him to join The Chieftains in 1979, replacing Michael Tubridy on flute. Molloy’s first album with the group was The Chieftains 9; Boil The Breakfast Early, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Matt Molloy is considered a pioneer of the piping style of flute-playing. When he plays alongside piper Paddy Keenan (as on the album The Best of the Bothy Band), the similarity of styles is readily apparent. Molloy regularly plays with piping decoration, and is generally credited as being the first to introduce an old pipers’ technique, the cran, on the Irish flute. Several of the featured flautists on this site are considered to be exponents of the piping style, including Kevin Crawford, Seamus Egan, and Michael McGoldrick.

Should you ever find yourself on Bridge Street, Westport, in County Mayo, be sure to stop by and see Matt. You can’t miss the pub’s signage: Matt Molloy’s Bar, Established 1896. There are live sessions of Irish traditional music nightly, with Matt sitting in when he’s in town. That’s a lot of music for the price of a pint.

Recordings featuring Matt Molloy

Heathery Breeze
Shadows on Stone