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In Memoriam

Irish musician and folklorist Michael "Mick" Moloney passed away on July 27, 2022 at his home in Greenwich Village. He was 77. Moloney had just performed at the Maine Celtic Festival in Belfast, Maine the week prior.

Vivien Schweitzer of The New York Times writes, "Mick, as he was called, studied the tenor banjo, the mandolin and the guitar in his youth, becoming particularly attracted to the "wild sound" of the banjo after first hearing it in the 1950s."

"An immigrant from Ireland," the article continues, "Mr. Moloney was a pioneering scholar in the field of Irish-American Studies at N.Y.U., where he was named a global distinguished professor. The university houses his extensive collection of materials in its Archives of Irish America."

In a video interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2015 Moloney said, "There are thousands of tunes in the tradition, so when we sit down for rehearsal, our job really isn't to find material, it's to exclude material, because we'd play them all if we could."

According to PBS, "Moloney recorded or produced more than 70 albums of Irish music and is credited with bringing traditional Irish music to a wider audience." He is also remembered as an advocate for female musicians performing in the Irish tradition.

Read more about Mick Moloney in the New York Times and in a transcribed interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air from PBS.

Mick Moloney with Hillary Clinton

Folklorist and musician Mick Moloney receiving America's highest honor in the folk and traditional arts, the NEA National Heritage Fellowship, from then First Lady Hillary Clinton in 1999
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"Our diaspora has worked incredibly hard at disseminating Irish culture in their new homes around the world, including our music and song, our film and theatre, our traditional sports and our incredibly rich literary tradition. As a man who has made music his life, Dr. Mick Moloney's depth of knowledge of traditional Irish music and its links with other folk genres has been generously shared with students and with music lovers across the world. It is creative people like Mick who have contributed to the wonderful reputation that Ireland enjoys for the quality of its art and culture, allowing the rest of us to walk with pride in this reflected glory."

--from Remarks by President Michael D. Higgins at the Presidential Distinguished Service Award for the Irish Abroad. Tuesday 26th November, 2013.

Mick Moloney