Born into a musical family, Sean Potts learned the tin whistle from his grandfather and began playing in the pubs of his native Dublin in the 1950s. It was there he met uilleann piper Paddy Maloney, with whom he would form a band that transformed the face and fortunes of Irish traditional music.
In 1960, while still working for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs, he and Maloney recruited composer Sean O Riada to form the pioneering traditional music group Ceoltoiri Chualann and laid the foundations for a revival spearheaded by their next project. The Chieftains were formed in 1962, released their first album the following year and quickly became the focus for a new generation of traditional musicians.
An appearance at the 1970 Cambridge Folk Festival introduced them to a wider audience and by 1972 they had made their debut in the United States. Potts retired from his day job in 1975 after the Chieftains played to a packed Royal Albert Hall and were commissioned by Stanley Kubrick to create the Academy Award-winning soundtrack for his film version of Barry Lyndon.
In the following decades The Chieftains established themselves on the world stage and continued to record and perform. But a fear of flying induced by growing international commitments and creative disagreements with Maloney led Potts to leave in 1979.
He returned to work for the Irish post office until retiring in 1985. He continued to play for radio broadcasts and in festivals with his uilleann piper son Sean, with whom he formed the short-lived Bakerswell.
Sean Potts was born on October 5 1930 and died, aged 83, on February 11. He is survived by his wife and four children.