By Martha Brennan
With nearly 12,000 monthly Spotify listeners and a critically acclaimed debut EP already behind her, the Galway singer known simply as Laoise is making waves in Irish music.
The singer/songwriter from the city centre released that new single – entitled ‘Bother’ – this week, and the 21 year old has plenty more planned for 2018.
Laoise started out playing traditional music – a sound she has strayed far from since.
Citing the origins of her musicality as hailing from her parents, Laoise learned the fiddle at just five years old and would accompany her father to various trad sessions around Galway growing up.
“Playing in these sessions taught me about musicianship and community and following on to write and perform my own songs just made sense,” Laoise said.
As she grew older the musician started to find her own voice away from her traditional beginnings, learning to play the piano and guitar and starting to write her own songs at just 15.
Now known for her electro-pop sound, Laoise said that she was originally inspired to sing by her Galway trad roots. “
It’s funny, I remember when I would play in trad sessions there’d be a singer, and when they began to sing the whole pub would fall silent. I thought this was so magical, everyone listening to just one voice following the energy of an abundance of instruments”.
When she started recording her own songs in her bedroom at sixteen, she found herself messing with different electronic sounds on her laptop which she says felt ‘natural’ to her and sought inspiration from her 80’s idols – like David Bowie and Stevie Nicks.
In 2016 Laoise released her first single and the success of the track surprised the singer, who recorded the song on a laptop with her partner. The song reached over 200,000 hits on Spotify and climbed to number four in the Viral 50 UK chart.
“Releasing ‘You’ only taught me that I want to continue on this path and develop and evolve,” said the artist.
Her first EP ‘Halfway’ was released last June to more positive acclaim with the website BuzzFeed including the title track in their April playlist alongside a host of major stars.
Writing from personal experiences, Laoise’s music is known for its dark honesty which resonates with listeners.
“The music I write is usually very momentary, fleeting, I’m capturing snapshots of my life and putting them in songs” she said.
Her newest release ‘Bother’ follows the same path telling the story of a relationship gone sour.
Laoise said that it was the hardest but quickest song that she has written.
“It says all the things I wish I had said a long time ago and writing this taught me that I am enough as I am, and I hope that resonates with people,” she explained. “I’m really excited about sharing it!”
See full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Exploring the merits of moving into the west
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
Community’s tribute to one of their own – saving final cut of turf after his passing
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
Liver donor dad would do it all again in a heartbeat
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.