Date Published: 25-May-2011
Every once in a while a musician composes a song so irresistibly catchy and melodic that it gets stuck in your head and feels like it won’t get out without some kind of surgical intervention.
Acoustic pop duo Heathers penned one such song that stormed the airwaves last March and has since been whistled and hummed incessantly in baths and showers up and down the country.
Unless you’ve spent the last year and a half with your head stuck in the ground like an agoraphobic ostrich you’ll have heard Remember When, which was spectacularly launched to prominence when it featured on a Fáilte Ireland commercial last year.
Launched to prominence, too, were the 21-year-old twin sisters behind Heathers, Ellie and Louise McNamara. The use of the song in a commercial promoting tourism in Ireland to a worldwide audience was obviously a seminal moment in the careers of the Dublin girls but their star was already rising before the ad gave them their big break.
Formed in 2007, Heathers recorded their first album, Here, Not There, when they were just 17 and embarked on two month-long tours of the United States the following year. The Fáilte Ireland ad was undeniably a watershed in their burgeoning careers, however, and they have since gone on to play at Oxegen and Electric Picnic, and were invited to perform with Paolo Nutini after he saw them perform last May.
“It was definitely our big break,” says Ellie. “It made our music more accessible and way more people got to hear it than otherwise would have. The fact that it’s on an ad representing our country is really great for us, too.
“Remember When was my favourite song on the album and, even though we’ve played it a million times, I still enjoy playing it. It was a huge boost for us and things pretty much started happening for us right away after it.”
A scout for an advertising agency had heard their music on MySpace and sent them a message asking if they would be interested in Remember When being considered as the theme tune for an upcoming television commercial.
“There were other songs in for it as well and we never thought that ours would be chosen,” recalls Ellie.
But it was, and it has since been played to vast audiences as part of Fáilte Ireland’s Discover Your Own Ireland advertising campaign. Album sales have rocketed. Remember When was released as a single and climbed to number 11 in the Irish charts. They were invited to perform at CMJ festival in New York and at Canadian Music Week in Toronto.
Heathers were selected by 2FM to represent Ireland at Eurosonic 2011 in Holland, leading to a plethora of festival bookings in Europe and the UK this summer. January also saw the UK and worldwide release of their debut album, and another tour of the US beckons later this summer.
The hectic schedule necessitated by their meteoric rise would be enough to exhaust even the most seasoned pop divas, but Ellie and Louise have had to tackle the trappings of their success as part of a delicate balancing act with their ongoing educational endeavours.
Louise is currently sitting her final exams in Geography and Music Technology at NUI Maynooth, while Ellie is studying for a Primary School Teaching degree and finished her second-year exams just last week.
“The exams went fine, they weren’t too bad but it’s been all go, go, go,” admits Ellie. “We’ve been really busy with exams but we’ve also been working on our new album. Hopefully we’ll have a bit more time for working on it now and be able to focus on that for the summer.”
The balance between their promising music careers and their studies must be a difficult juggling act, but it is one that the twins have been used to since they were teenagers.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Appeal for information following Portumna crash
Date Published: 08-May-2013
Gardai are appealing for witnesses following a single vehicle crash at the Portumna bridge this morning.
The road from Nenagh to Loughrea reopened shortly after 11 this morning following the completion of a technical exam.
Four men were travelling in a van when they hit the Portumna bridge around 6:30 this morning.
Gardaí, ambulance and two units of Portumna fire services rushed to the scene, and one of the men was taken to Portiuncula hospital in Ballinasloe.
He is being treated for head injuries, which have been described by Gardaí as serious.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Portumna Garda station on 09-097-42060
President Higgins among GMIT’s first ever honorary fellowships
Date Published: 10-May-2013
GMIT is to honour seven outstanding individuals including President Michael D Higgins with Honorary Fellowships at a special ceremony later this month.
It’s the first time in the 40 year history of the Institute the Governing Body of GMIT has decided to award honorary fellowships.
The GMIT Honorary Fellowships will be conferred at the g Hotel in the city this day two weeks Friday 24 May at 2.30pm in front of 200 invited guests.
Galway commuters hold their breath as LRC intervenes in bus strike
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway commuters are holding their breath as there has been a potential breakthrough in the Bus Eireann dispute, as both sides have agreed to talks at the Labour Relations Commission.
The LRC intervened this afternoon, on day two of strike action that has seen 95 per cent of bus services disrupted across the country.
The LRC’s Director of Conciliation Services, Kevin Foley, says the National Bus and Rail Union and the company have agreed to meet for mediated talks at 8 this evening.