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Mick Moloney

Nov. 15, 1944

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Mick Moloney emigrated from Ireland to the United States in 1973 to pursue graduate studies in folklore. Since earning a doctorate, he has devoted much of his time to the documentation and performance of traditional Irish music and musicians. Photograph by Joseph T. Wilson, courtesy National Council for the Traditional Arts
From left: Mick Moloney, Seamus Egan, James Keane, courtesy National Council for the Traditional Arts
The Green Fields of America, including Mick Moloney (standing, second from right) and Donny Golden (sitting on the floor), courtesy Green Linnet Records and Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
Mick Moloney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1983, photograph by Scott Weiner, courtesy Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
Mick Moloney (center), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1983, photograph by Scott Weiner, courtesy Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
From left: Seamus Egan, Mick Moloney and Eugene O'Donnell, courtesy Green Linnet Records and Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
Mick Moloney (left), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, courtesy Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
Mick Moloney (right), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, courtesy Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia
From left: Seamus Egan, Mick Moloney and Eugene O'Donnell, courtesy Green Linnet Records and Folklife Center, International House of Philadelphia

Mick Moloney of Limerick, Ireland, began playing tenor banjo at 16 years of age. As a teenager he listened to American folksingers and especially enjoyed the music of the Weavers and Burl Ives. He remembers that there was not a lot of traditional instrumental music being played where he lived. As he got older, he went to neighboring Ennis, just over the River Shannon in County Clare, to listen to music in the pubs. He tape-recorded the tunes so he could "bring them home" with him to learn them.

Growing up, he learned to sing traditional songs and to play guitar as well as mandolin and tenor banjo. During his formative years in Ireland, he played with the Emmet Folk Group and later with the Johnstons. His participation with those bands shaped his perspective on and honed his skills in Irish music. He spent five years touring and recording with the Johnstons.

Moloney came to the United States in 1973 to pursue graduate studies in folklore at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where he later earned a doctorate. Since then, he has devoted much of his time to the documentation and presentation of traditional Irish music and musicians.

Moloney has been a driving force in Irish music in the United States. Much of the national exposure received by traditional Irish artists, such as Martin Mulvihill, Donny Golden and Jack Coen — all National Heritage Fellows — is the result of Moloney's work as mentor, producer, performer and scholar. By recognizing and recording skilled musicians, he was highly influential in bringing Irish music out of pubs and parlors and placing it on stages and in concert halls. In 1977, Moloney co-founded the Irish music group Green Fields of America.

Over the years, Moloney has taught Irish music and culture at universities around the country and conducted annual tours to Ireland to expose the general public to Irish folk culture. He has made solo albums and numerous recordings in partnership with other Irish musicians, including Derry fiddler Eugene O'Donnell, button accordionist James Keane and singer-guitarist Robbie O'Connell.

Bibliography
Johnson, Janis. "Out of Ireland." Humanities, January/February 1994, 15, 1: 10.
Turbide, Diane. "Pennies from Heaven." Maclean's, September 1, 1997, 110, 35: 74.

Discography
Moloney, Mick, et al. Celtic Thunder. Green Linnet 1029.
______. Mick Moloney with Eugene O'Donnell. Green Linnet 1010.
______. Roll Away the Reel World. Green Linnet 1026.
______. Slow Airs and Set Dances. Green Linnet 1015.
______. Strings Attached. Green Linnet 1027. For a complete discography, visit http://mickmoloney.com/music/disco.html.

Watch

Mick Moloney's 1999 performance with a cast of legendary Irish folk musicians and a guest dance appearance by 1995 Heritage Fellow Donny Golden at the National Heritage Fellowship Concert, Washington, D.C., courtesy National Endowment for the Arts

Listen

Mick Moloney, audio biography, produced and recorded by Alan Govenar, edited by Andrew Dean, narrated by Bob Ray Sanders

Paddy Cronin and Mick Moloney, 'In Memory Of Coleman (Reel),' Celtic Dances: Jigs and Reels from Ireland, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder ED CD 9010

Eugene O'Donnell and Mick Moloney, 'Packy's Place — The Castleblayney Piper (Jig),' Celtic Dances: Jigs and Reels from Ireland, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder ED CD 9010

Liz Carroll and Mick Moloney, 'The Wild Swans At Coole (Reel),' Celtic Dances: Jigs and Reels from Ireland, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder ED CD 9010

Louis Quinn and Mick Moloney, 'Pat Clark's - The Shanvaghara (Reel),' Celtic Dances: Jigs and Reels from Ireland, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder ED CD 9010

Mike Rafferty, flute, and Mick Moloney, long- necked mandolin, 'Barrel Rafferty's Reel,' Celtic Winds - Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

Seam McGlynn, accordion, and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'The Ballinakill Hornpipe/The Bridge Hornpipe,' Celtic Winds — Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011
www.rounder.com

Martin Mulvihill, fiddle, and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'The Clare Hornpipe,' Celtic Winds - Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

John Vesey, fiddle; Eddie Cahill, flute; and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'The Boys Of Ballisdare/Duke Of Leinster,' Celtic Winds — Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

Mike Preston, flute; Jack Coen, flute; Charlie Coen, concertina; and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'The Rookery/Saddle The Pony,' Celtic Winds — Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

Brian Conway, fiddle, and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'Pigeon On The Gate/Boys Of The Lough,' Celtic Winds — Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

Jack Coen, flute, and Mick Moloney, long- necked mandolin, 'The Banks Of Newfoundland/The Woodford Jig,' Celtic Winds — Irish Music In America, 1998 Rounder Records Corp., ED CD 9011

Liz Carroll, fiddle, and Mick Moloney, guitar, 'The Swans At Coole (Reel),' The Music Of Ed Reavy, 2001 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder 82161-6008-2

Mick Moloney, mandolin, and Shelly Posen, guitar, 'Lad O'Beirne's (Hornpipe),' The Music Of Ed Reavy, 2001 Rounder Records Corp., Rounder 82161-6008-2