Date Published: 08-Jun-2011
There is a haunting tenderness to Elaine Mai’s softly enunciated vocals and gently overlapping harmonies that offends the notion that the Galway-based songwriter might once have fronted a heavy metal band.
But when she first took to the stage in Galway around seven years ago, strange though it might seem, it was to lend her voice to a local metal quintet called Idle Hands.
“I used to listen to that kind of music,” admits Elaine. “I was a narky teenager there for a little while. Especially being from Mayo – we’re so misunderstood!
“Idle Hands was me and four guys who were absolute gentlemen and I had so much fun with them but I think, while it was a really good experience and it built my confidence and showed what I could do, the style that the guys were into didn’t really suit my voice,” she says.
“It was pretty heavy, it was pretty hardcore and my voice is kind of sweet, I suppose, for want of a better word. I don’t know if it really suited that.”
Her voice is sweet indeed and has since been put to better use in the form of her personal brand of acoustic pop as a solo artist that includes the effective use of a loop pedal to create enchanting, multi-layered harmonies, as well as a glock and a guitar.
In addition to her solo career, Elaine also sings with the popular Galway-based band Go Panda Go and has also performed with Laurie Leech and the Words. There are pros and cons to both playing with a band and performing solo, according to Elaine, and she is glad to have the opportunity to pursue both.
“There’s a good bit of difference musically,” she explains. “My solo stuff is mainly based around guitar and vocals and I do a lot of vocal harmonies and stuff with the loop pedal. With Go Panda Go, we’ve got four singers and we all pitch in here and there. I play synth in the band and I play the glock as well. So, it is very different.”
But perhaps the biggest difference between playing as a member of a band and performing alone on stage for Elaine is a tendency to suffer from nerves which belies her commanding and powerful live performances.
“Nerves have always been a huge thing for me,” she says. “I’ve always been extremely nervous. The first gig that I did on my own – my first solo gig – was just about 10 or 11 months ago and my housemate at the time, who is also the drummer from Go Panda Go, had to try to calm me down because I was absolutely freaking out and I didn’t think that I could go on and do it.
“But I did and, hard and all as it was, I was really glad that I did and it has gotten much easier since but I still do have nerves, definitely. Getting up on stage is the hardest part but once you get up there once you do the first song, it’s ok. I usually make that song one that I’m really ok with and one that I’m confident with so it will settle me down and I’ll get more into it.
“I’m looking forward to getting to the point where I can just really enjoy it. At the moment I’m still just a little bit nervous,” adds Elaine.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Retail industry trade body welcomes B&Q announcement
Date Published: 07-May-2013
Retail Excellence Ireland, the country’s largest retail industry trade body, has welcomed the news that 60 jobs have been saved at the city branch of B&Q.
It’s after the home improvements store successfully exited examinership.
Under the scheme, 2.4 million euro is to be invested by parent company Kingfisher plc, and B and Q will continue to trade at eight stores
This means 640 jobs have been saved nationwide, including 60 at the outlet in Knocknacarra.
However, David Fitzsimons of Retail Excellence Ireland says landlords need to be willing to help out smaller retailers too.
Foundation reports nine Galway heart deaths each week
Date Published: 09-May-2013
Nine people die in Galway every week from heart disease and stroke.
That’s according to the Irish Heart Foundation, which is launching its Happy Hearts Appeal today. (9/5)
An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, launched the appeal today to help raise funds for the charity, which has seen increasing demand on its patient services.
The Foundation says it needs to raise at least half a million euro to maintain existing information services.
Call to tackle delays at Oranmore rail crossing
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Concerns have been raised over traffic delays at the railway crossing in Oranmore.
Councillor Jim Cuddy says he has received many representations from local motorists who have been experiencing extended delays.
He says the closed barrier can sometimes cause a traffic tailback as far as the roundabout near the Maldron hotel.
Cllr Cuddy has brought the matter to the attention of Iarnrod Eireann and has asked for an explanation as to why the crossing is closed for so long.