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Haunting pop voice of Elaine Mai belies her heavy metal past

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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.

Galway Bay FM News Archives

Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent

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Date Published: 07-May-2013

A park ‘n’ ride scheme from Carnmore into Galway city could become a permanent service if there is public demand.

That’s according to the Chief Executive of Galway Chamber of Commerce, Michael Coyle.

The pilot scheme will begin at 7.20 next Monday morning, May 13th.

Motorists will be able to park cars at the airport carpark in Carnmore and avail of a bus transfer to Forster Street in the city.

Buses will depart every 20 minutes at peak times and every 30 minutes at offpeak times throughout the day, at a cost of 2 euro per journey.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis

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Date Published: 09-May-2013

Tuam is now awaiting a third import of hay from the UK as overnight rainfall has increased pressure on farmers struggling to source fodder.

A total of ten loads are expected at Connacht Gold stores throughout the West with a load expected at the Airglooney outlet this evening or tomorrow.

Farmers throughout the county have been struggling to cope with the animal feed shortage and a below than normal grass growth due to unseasonal weather conditions.

Overnight rainfall in the Galway area has also added to the problem making ground conditions in many areas are quite poor.

Joe Waldron, Agricultual Advisor with Connacht Gold says farmers in short supply can contact the Airglooney outlet on 093 – 24101.

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Galway Bay FM News Archives

Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action

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Date Published: 12-May-2013

The Transport Minister is urging drivers at Bus Éireann to engage in talks with management, in an effort to bring their strike action to an end.

There were no Bus Éireann services operating out of Galway today as a result of nationwide strike action by staff affiliated with the national bus and rail union.

Up to 20 Bus Éireann drivers are continuing to picket outside the bus depot at the docks in the city this evening.

Drivers from other unions have decided not to cross the picket line and go into work today – causing the disruption to be even worse.

Bus drivers are protesting against five million euro worth of cuts to their overtime and premium pay – cuts which Bus Eireann says are vital to ensure the future viability of the company.

The majority of services nationwide are disrupted, and the union say strike action will continue until management are willing to go back into negotiations.

However, it’s not expected to affect school services next week.

Galway bay fm news understands that around 70 percent, or over 100 Galway bus Eireann drivers are affiliated with the NBRU.

 

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