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Connacht Tribune

Galway singer set for more chart success after debut goes viral

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A Galway singer/songwriter whose debut single went viral with over 200,000 streams is building on that success with a second offering that has already been earmarked as one to watch – alongside the latest releases from global superstars like Kendrick Lamar, Bon Iver and Gorillaz.

Electro-pop artist Laoise Nolan – who hails from the heart of Galway city centre – began her journey with the release of her melodic debut single ‘You’ on the Spotify in November 2016 – and by January the song had gone to number four on the UK viral chart. By April it had topped 200,000 streams.

The artist herself could hardly believe the achievement of the single with such humble beginnings.

“I was really surprised because Spotify is so hard to crack. We recorded the song with a microphone and a laptop so it was really cool that this song we that we worked on in a tiny little room was heard by so many people!”

‘You’ wasn’t a one-off either; the release of her follow-up single ‘Halfway’ was met with more positive acclaim with BuzzFeed naming the track in their ‘23 Songs you need in your April playlist’ alongside that host of major superstars.

Her EP of the same name – ‘Halfway’ – was released on June 15 to a similar reception, with one online publication writing: ‘It’s hard to see a future where Laoise doesn’t break into the Irish mainstream’.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FFTWkuqCkiA

Away from the studio, Laoise has been touring the Ireland and the UK and she says that one of her more recent live performances has been her most memorable.

“Well they are all different but it would probably have to be Forbidden fruit because first, it was raining so a lot of people came into the tent and they were such a great crowd. They knew all the words which was really an incredible experience for me,” she said.

Laoise recently ditched her guitar during her live performances in favour of a microphone to give her hands a bit of freedom.

Watching her music videos, you get the feeling that her hands are important as she constantly moves them – she refers to it as “spasming”. Her reasoning for this is that her music is very visual. The gestures and music complement each other.

In the modern music industry, being a good singer is not enough. There is something unique that separates the singer from the artist.

The visual aspect is a crucial aspect of Laoise’s work. The album artwork for her E.P is a burst of her favourite colour: pink – as is most of her social media presence. But the cute and light pink from her album artwork betrays her music with its heavy emotional themes and musical tones.

“Yeah, that’s definitely on purpose. It’s really like a paradox! I love the colour pink but when I make music I need to write about my own personal experiences and find what resonates with me,” she admits.

Born into a musical family, Laoise started off playing traditional Irish music sessions on the fiddle with her father Brian in the local Galway pubs like Tí Cóilí and even venturing out as far as Inishbofin, where she first began singing.

Over time, Laoise realised she needed a new sound, away from her traditional Irish roots, to find her own voice.

With electro-pop, she found a sound that was accessible but also never sounded stale. With electro-pop, Laoise found that she could make the diverse music that fit her personality and never feel she was hearing the same song twice.

Laoise is a solo artist but she hasn’t been alone on her journey. When asked for her biggest inspiration, Laoise says she can’t choose.

“Well in terms of musical inspiration, I would always say Stevie Nicks because I have always just loved her and Fleetwood Mac,” she says.

“Closer to home, I’ve been very lucky because I’ve had some wonderful people surrounding me, in my family to people in college. It’s so nice to be around like-minded people who are happy to collaborate with you, I think that’s really important,” she adds.

Away from her own music, Laoise listens to a bit of everything, even away from her own genre but she does have a few mainstays on her Spotify playlists.

“I love soul music and I would always listen to the Soultronic playlist on Spotify. Oh and eighties obviously; I love the sound from almost anything of the eighties!”

Laoise has come a long way from her days of playing the fiddle – and you get the sense there is something special about this particular Galway girl.

Connacht Tribune

Exploring the merits of moving into the west

Dave O'Connell

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Mary Kennedy with Carol Ho, one of the Galway interviewees for her new TG4 series, Moving West. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

Broadcaster Mary Kennedy has an abiding image of those early mornings when she’d set out from Dublin at the crack of dawn to begin work on another day’s filming down the country with Nationwide.

“I always liked to go in the morning rather than stay there the night before – so I’d be on the road early. And from the moment I’d hit Newland’s Cross, all I’d see was a line of traffic of people trying to make it from home to their workplace in Dublin,” she says.

These were people whose day began before dawn to get their bleary-eyed kids ready to drop at a childminder along the way, so they could be on time for work – and then race home to hopefully see those same kids before they went to sleep.

But if the pandemic had a positive, it was the realisation that work was something you did, not a place you went to. As a result, many people finally grasped the nettle, moving out of the city and sometimes even taking their work with them.

Which is why Mary – busier than ever since her supposed retirement from RTÉ – is presenting a new television series called Moving West, focusing on those individuals and families who have, as the title, suggests, relocated to the West.

One of the programmes comes from Galway, where Mary met with Stewart Forrest, who relocated with his family from South Africa to Oughterard, and Carol Ho, a Hong Kong native who has also settled in Galway.

The TG4 series also stops off in Sligo, Mayo, Kerry, Clare, Roscommon and Leitrim.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing

Dave O'Connell

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Well saved...members of St Brendan's GAA Club honour their departed stalwart, John Geraghty, after a record-breaking evening saving his turf.

A local community responded in force to the death of one of their own – a man who had given so much of his life for the good of the parish – by paying one last practical tribute to him last week.

They lifted and footed his turf.

John Geraghty – or Gero as he was known – lived for Gaelic football and he’d filled every role imaginable with the St Brendan’s GAA Club since he came to live in Newbridge in 1983.

He’d cut the turf before he died last Tuesday week, but there it lay, until his old GAA friends organised a bunch of guys – made up of the football team, friends and neighbours – to meet in the bog last Wednesday evening to lift and foot/clamp John’s turf.

“Upwards of 50 fellas from the community showed up,” said St Brendan’s chairman Gerry Kilcommins.

Which was just as well, because, as Gerry acknowledged, John – himself a two-time chairman of the club in the past – had a lot of turf cut!

“It took up an area around three-quarters of the size of a standard football pitch,” he said.

Not that this proved a problem, given the enthusiasm with which they rolled up their sleeves for their old friend.

They started at 7.30pm and had it done at 7.55pm – that’s just 25 minutes from start to finish.

Read the full, heartwarming story – and the St Brendan’s GAA Club appreciation for John Geraghty – in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

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Connacht Tribune

Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat

Denise McNamara

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Daddy’s girl…Sadhbh Browne with her very special message on organ donations. Photo: Joe O’Shaughnessy.

It is nearly two years since Paddy Browne gave his daughter Sadhbh part of his liver to save her life. And just ahead of Father’s Day, he reflects on how he would do it all over again in a heartbeat, without a single moment’s hesitation.

After an initial testing time in the first six weeks when they beat a path to the intensive care unit after the operation in St King’s Hospital in London, Sadhbh has never looked back.

“She’s thrived and thrived and thrived. She skips out to school every day. She loves the normal fun and devilment in the yard. She’s now six and started football with Mountbellew Moylough GAA, she loves baking, she’s a voracious reader – she’ll read the whole time out loud while we drive up to Crumlin [Children’s Hospital].”

But it could have all been so different.

Sadhbh from Mountbellew was diagnosed with Biliary Atresia shortly after she was born. She quickly underwent major surgery to drain bile from her liver. It worked well until she reached three years old when an infection caused severe liver damage and she was placed on the liver transplant list.

She was on a long list of medication to manage the consequences of advanced liver disease. While she lived a full life, she would tire very easily.

Paddy was undergoing the rigorous process to be accepted as a living donor when one of the tests ruled him unsuitable. His brother Michael stepped forward and was deemed a good match.

Then, further tests revealed that Paddy was in fact eligible for the operation and the previous result disregarded as a false positive.

Read the full, uplifting story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. Or you can download our digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie

Organ Donor Cards can be obtained by phoning the Irish Kidney Association on 01 6205306 or Free text the word DONOR to 50050. You can also visit the website www.ika.ie/get-a-donor-card or download a free ‘digital organ donor card’ APP to your phone.

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