The latest project from Irish musical icons The Chieftains deals with an unknown chapter in the Mexican-American War in 1867. The soldiers of the San Patricios, a band of men who had fled the Emerald Isle due to the ravages of famine, were immediately conscripted into the U.S. Army. Instead of facing off against the predominantly Catholic Mexican forces, the battalion switched sides and fought, but to dire consequences. But this germ of an idea, discovered through research by Chieftains' leader Paddy Maloney, did not lead to an album of dirges. On the contrary, the tunes can be quite electric, with the able assistance of noted guitarist Ry Cooder. Also enlisted to help on the CD are Cesar Rosas and David Hidalgo of Los Lobos, Moya Brennan, Los Tigres del Norte, Lila Downs, Liam Neeson and Linda Ronstadt.
San Patricios is to be released 9 March on merge. Find out more about the project by viewing the promotional video above.
The Chieftains start a month long tour in the U.S. this coming week, culminating with a St. Patrick's Day concert in New York City. TNOP County Clare correspondent Celtic Ray will be on hand for the 6 March show in Milwaukee and will post his review on these pages.