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Mick Moloney, musician and champion of Irish culture, dies at 77

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Mick Moloney, a recording artist, folklorist, concert presenter and professor who championed traditional Irish culture and encouraged female instrumentalists in male-dominated fields, died Tuesday at his home in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village. he was 77 years old.

The Glacxman Irish House NYU, New York University’s Irish Studies Center, announced his death. No reason was given. Less than a week later, Mr. Moloney performed at the Maine Celtic Festival in Belfast, Maine.

An Irish immigrant, Moloney is a pioneering scholar in the field of Irish-American Studies at NYU, where he was named a world-renowned professor. The university maintains Eilish’s extensive collection of materials in his American archives. He reissued a wealth of music by his 19th-century and his 20th-century Irish bands, often with a wide range unfamiliar with Irish culture beyond the commercialized St. Patrick’s Day event. I brought the music to the audience.

An accomplished musician, Moloney sang and played guitar, mandolin and banjo, with the tenor banjo being his primary instrument. He founded Greenfields of America in his 1978. Greenfields of America is a multidisciplinary Irish touring ensemble whose members include Michael Flatley, founder of Riverdance, a theatrical show featuring Irish music and dance.

Moloney is passionate about exploring the connections between Irish, African, Galician and American roots music, and has given numerous concerts and lectures highlighting their synergies. In one of his programs in his “Celtic Appalachia” series, held by the Irish Art Center in 2012 at his Space Symphony in Manhattan, Malian musician Chek Hamaradiabate predates the banjo. We played indigenous African instruments. Moloney also worked with Filipino vocalist Grace Nono, among other musicians.

Moloney’s research extends to the often troubled relationships between Irish Americans and African Americans in the 19th and 20th centuries. He was working on a movie called ‘Two Roads Diverged’ when he died. The piece describes how these communities found common ground through music and dance despite their conflicts.

His scholarship also included Irish-Jewish relations. Mr. Moloney focused on the collaboration between his two immigrant groups in America in Vaudeville and his Alley of Tin Pans, in an amusing recording “If It’s Not for the Irish and the Jews”. (One poem asked, “What would this great Yankee nation really do without Levy, Monaghan, or Donahue?”)

Until the 1980s, most instrumentalists in traditional Irish music were men, but Moloney encouraged women to play as well, and in 1985 he founded “Cherish the Ladies” (the name of the Irish jig) in Manhattan. We held a festival called , and a concert the following year. A year called “Fathers and Daughters”. He produced the album “America’s Irish Woman Musicians” by the all-female group Cherish the Ladies.

Moloney hosts a show on folk music on US public television and was awarded the Irish Government’s Presidential Award for Service to Irish People Abroad in 2013. In 1999, her then First Lady Hillary Clinton presented Clinton with the National Her Heritage Her Fellowship, the nation’s highest honor in folk and traditional arts awarded by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Moloney was a mentor to many subsequent NEA Fellows, including Cherish the Ladies flutist Joanie Madden.

In 2002, he wrote a book, Far From Shamrock Shore: The Story of Irish-American Immigrants in Song, accompanied by a CD of songs. He also led regular tours of Ireland, highlighting Irish culture through concerts, studio visits, castle tours and pub visits.

Moloney told the New York Times in 1996: pull from across the sea. I feel a deep sense of loss. “

Michael Moloney was born on November 15, 1944 in Limerick, South West Ireland, one of seven children of Michael and Maura Moloney. His father was the chief air traffic controller at Shannon Airport, west of Limerick, and his mother was the primary school principal in Limerick.

Mick learned to play the tenor banjo, mandolin and guitar at a young age, and after hearing the banjo for the first time in the 1950s, he was particularly fascinated by the banjo’s “wild sound”. Lacking the opportunity to hear traditional instrumental music in Limerick, he recalled learning by going to nearby County Clare, listening to songs in pubs, and recording them.

In his youth, he played with the Emmett Folk Group and a trio called The Johnstons, recording and touring Europe and America. “Much of their personality comes from Mr. Moloney,” critic John S. Wilson wrote in The Times in 1971. Amazing Mephistophelia eyebrows.

Moloney has a BA in Economics from University College Dublin and spent a short time in London working as a social worker helping immigrant communities. In 1973 he left for the United States and received his Ph.D. He received his PhD in Folklore and Folk His Life from the University of Pennsylvania in 1992. In addition to NYU, he has taught ethnomusicology, folklore, and Irish studies at the University of Pennsylvania and Georgetown and Villanova.

In 1982, Moloney founded Irish/Celtic Week at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, Wisconsin, modeled after Willie Clancy Summer School.

For the last 20 years, he has lived in both Manhattan and Thailand, volunteering as a music therapist and teacher for abandoned children with HIV at the Mercy Center in Bangkok. He appeared online from Thailand for the Irish at an event for the 2020 Biden presidential election.

Philomena Murray’s marriage to Judy Sherman ended in divorce. His survivors include his Sangjan Chailungka, a partner with whom he lived in Bangkok. Fintan, the son from his marriage to Mr. Murray. and four siblings, Violet Morrissey and Dermot, Kathleen and Nanette Moloney.

Moloney has devoted much of his career to academia, but never lost his energy in making music, describing himself first and foremost as an artist.

“Tradition has thousands of songs, so when we sit down to rehearse, our job is not to find material, but to filter it out, because we want to play it all if possible. ’” he said in a video. Interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2015. “On my tombstone,” he added.