Date Published: 04-May-2011
Galway-based singer Noriana Kennedy combines the best of the folk traditions from both sides of the Atlantic on her debut album, Ebb n Flow, which she launches in Galway with a gig at Kelly’s Bar this Thursday.
She established herself as one of the most distinctive voices in contemporary folk music as the lead singer of the five-piece trad band Nábac, which will be familiar to Galway audiences for a memorable performance during the Volvo Ocean Race stopover in the city in 2009.
The Lucan-born musician discovered a formative love for old-time and bluegrass music in 2006, when she travelled to Virginia to record an EP with the Irish-American band Sawyer Hollow. The passion for American folk music that she developed has imposed itself on her debut album.
“I suppose it is a halfway split between the Irish-Scots influence and the American thing,” says Noriana. “It’s not exactly a hybrid because the influences don’t mix within a song but the album is definitely a mixture of the two.”
The cosmopolitan nature of the record is unsurprising given the multinational makeup of her musical accompaniment. Old-time fiddle players Stephanie Coleman and Cleek Schrey hail from Chicago and Virginia respectively, while guitarist Christof Van Der Ven is Dutch and, although banjo player Gerry Paul was born on native turf, he spent many of his formative years in New Zealand.
In fact, Noriana is momentarily stumped as she tried to name a single contributor to the Irish and American folk album who is Irish. “I think Sean Regan was born in England. Bill Whelan [who plays the banjo] is Irish!” she says finally.
“So are Liz [Coleman] and [producer] Trevor Hutchinson, so there are a few but it’s far from a pure trad CD alright. I hadn’t even realised that! But it doesn’t matter where you’re from if you’re good. People who aren’t from Ireland can actually be more serious about styles than people from home.”
Noriana’s own musical upbringing wasn’t steeped in conventional folk music either, although her parents laid the foundations for both Noriana and her brother Paddy, who was also a member of Nábac, from a young age.
“Our parents were always hugely encouraging towards music for myself and my brother. Mom used to give guitar lessons and dad played the banjo, and Dad would bring fiddles or an accordion into the house, and there was always a guitar lying around.
“We used to get lessons but we’d always drop out,” she laughs. “It wasn’t until we were in our teens that we really got into it.”
Noriana developed a fondness for folk by listening to contemporary bands like Kíla and began singing in sessions in Dublin before starting with Nábac.
“I started singing with Nábac with my brother and a few of the lads – a piper and a guitar player – were moving to Galway to do a music course. They didn’t end up doing it in the end but I moved down here with them at the time and we based the band in Galway.”
It was a fortuitous move in 2005 for both Noriana and the bustling folk music scene here, which has benefited from the addition of one of the finest voices in the genre to its existing pool of talent.
For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.
Judge adjourns Connemara assault case
Date Published: 08-May-2013
A date will be set next October for the trial of a 52-year old Connemara man, who is charged with assaulting traditional Irish musician Noel Hill five years ago.
Michael Folan from Teach Mór, Lettermullen, is charged with intentionally or recklessly causing serious harm to Noel Hill at Tí Padraig Mairtín Beag in Leitir Mór, on St Stephen’s Day, 2008.
The matter had been listed for trial on several occasions before Galway Circuit Criminal Court in the intervening period.
It was referred to the High Court in Dublin last year for judicial review after Michael Folan said he wanted his trial heard ‘as Gaeilge’and that a bi-lingual jury be made available to hear the case.
At Galway Circuit Criminal Court, Judge Rory McCabe adjourned the case for mention to October when it’s expected a date will be set for trial.
Bank of Ireland Galway Shopping Centre branch to close
Date Published: 10-May-2013
Bank of Ireland’s branch at Galway Shopping Centre on the Headford Road is to close in July.
The branch is to merge into the BOI outlet at Galway Industrial Estate in Mervue.
Galway Bay fm news reports the 14 staff impacted are to be offered redeployment and there will be no job losses.
Galway RNLI rescues three people stranded on Hare Island
Date Published: 13-May-2013
Galway RNLI Lifeboat has come to the rescue of three students who got stranded on Hare Island after getting caught in the tide off Ballyloughan Beach.
The two girls and boy, in their late teens had gone for a walk and were spotted waving from the island by a local resident who contacted the emergency Services and Galway Lifeboat.
Conditions at the time (4pm) were very changeable with heavy showers.
Three members of the Lifeboat shore crew were working in the vicinity of the station at the time and launched the boat in six minutes.
The three students were picked up safely and brought back to the Lifeboat Station at Galway Docks where they were warmed up and given tea and did not require medical attention.