Date Published: 11-May-2011
Award-winning Galway musician Úna Ní Fhlannagáin has played for heads of state and was employed as the private harpist of a Lebanese millionaire but this weekend she performs in the more modest surrounds of Nun’s Island Theatre with her newly formed trad band, Triúr.
The series of gigs back in her hometown as part of the new three-piece group excites her as much as any of the prestigious events at which she entertained socialites in as many as 17 countries during the course of her travels as a harpist and singer.
In fact, she recounts the story of how the three musicians got together with such a fond sense of fate and romanticism that their coalescence of musical minds sounds more Mills and Boon than Gilbert and Sullivan.
“Do you know the way some people get together they say that it was like their eyes met across a crowded room? Well, it was like our fingers met across a crowded room one night at a session and we really enjoyed playing together,” says Úna.
“That was just before Christmas and, after that, we kept sort of ‘accidentally’ turning up at each other’s sessions. I think we were kind of in awe of each other until eventually I built up the courage to ask them if they wanted to be in a band together.
“It turned out that they both had been thinking the same thing. It does sound a bit like some illicit teen romance and I think it was actually around Valentine’s Day that we actually got together,” she laughs. “Now we play together as much as possible and we get uncomfortable if we don’t see each other for 48 hours.”
As is the case with most fairytale romances, Triúr do – quite literally – make beautiful music together. The sum of three quite diverse musical traditions, the group is perhaps the only one in the country to feature the rare combination of a harp, pipes and an accordion.
“I think the result is a unique sound,” says Úna. “There are three of us but, because our instruments are both harmony and melody, it actually sounds like there are more of us. I don’t believe there is another single combination of our instruments in Ireland.”
Piper Brewen Favrau hails from Brittany but plays a Scottish instrument and has completely immersed himself in Irish traditional music. Accordionist Ger Chambers is from Mayo and is described by Úna as “the grooviest player” she has ever seen.
“His speciality is rhythm,” she says. “You can’t help but tap your feet to his smoking, steaming fast reels. They just make you want to dance.”
Úna herself cites her father, John Flannagan, as her biggest influence and has been instilled with the distinctive musical style of his native north Clare. She self-diagnoses a “schizophrenic musical personality” however, and says her harmonic language is often quite “poppy”, peppered with blues notes and not uncommonly jazzy.
The trio hail from quite disparate musical traditions but all have been similarly steeped in musical backgrounds from an early age. Úna’s father is not a professional singer but that, she says, is only because he doesn’t want to be and he counts among his fans Christy Moore, who once wrote about him on his website after seeing him perform. Her musical pedigree also boasts her famous cousins, Dolores and Sean Keane.
Úna’s career to date has seen her perform for dignitaries including President Mary McAleese (twice), the Prime Minister of Jamaica, a host of TDs and senators, and a gathering of some of the world’s best-known human rights advocates at a recent function at the Glenlo Abbey Hotel.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Galway ‘Park and Ride’ could become permanent
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.
Tuam awaits UK hay import as overnight rainfall adds to fodder crisis
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.
Transport Minister urges end to Bus Eireann strike action
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.