Fifty-seven years. Literally a lifetime. The Chieftains, who tonight say farewell to one life, have spent the sum total of those 57 years becoming the living avatars of traditional Irish music. The band — singer and bodhrán tipper Kevin Conneff, flautist and tin whistler Matt Molloy, and original member Paddy Moloney on uilleann pipes and accordion — won six Grammys, traveled the world countless times and dueted with an astronaut in outer space. Maybe tonight is one of those “Alexander wept for there were no more worlds to conquer” moments. Probably not. They’re Irish. Salt of the earth, they are. That they’re retiring from The Business doesn’t mean they’re retiring as artists. Anyone who’s an artist can tell you that the creative urge is incessant and life-long. Think you can stick with something for 57 years? I triple-fucking-dog-dare you to.
The Chieftans perform at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 1 at Walt Disney Concert Hall.