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Connacht Tribune

Teenage Gort singer brews up a storm!

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A teenage singer from South Galway has had her original song included on a US label’s new album, designed as a showcase to promote the best of musical talent from across the globe.

Gort student Jenna Coughlan’s song has made the cut to appear on the California-based record company’s album, following an international song competition win.

BY SIMON FLATLEY

And the producers were so impressed by her talent that have since been in touch to make another one.

The sixth year student at Gort Community School is one of six young musicians from across the world to be included on a new album, with her award-winning song ‘Smoke Storms’.

The recording is being released by Future Youth Records, a non-profit record label dedicated to helping rising talents to create and distribute music, promoting social justice.

Landing a $1,000 prize for her song, Jenna admitted she was ‘definitely really surprised’ to discover she was then one of the six winners of the competition, and the only one from Ireland. In previous years, winners of the song writing competition had been flown out to Los Angeles to record their track – but that wasn’t possible this year due to Covid-19.

“It would have been a nice experience to record over there but I also have to concentrate on exams at the moment, as the Leaving Cert is coming up. It did work out well though as I was able to record the song from my bedroom,” she said

The 18 year old revealed that, a year or two ago, she bought recording equipment and “because I’d decided to try recording some of my songs, I guess that came in handy”.

“I saw an ad on Instagram for the competition, and I looked up Future Records to learn more about them,” she explained.

I learned they help young people to distribute music and promote environmental justice and I was really interested in the competition.”

Jenna revealed that her dad, John, is also very environmentally friendly, having covered the roof of their house and his business, Coughlan’s Centra, in solar panels, which she says is working extremely well.

“I never thought that I would actually win when I entered the competition. I did it more as a challenge for myself because I write music all the time,” said Jenna.

“Then they sent me an email, firstly to say that I was picked as one of the final ten, and then within a week or so later I got an email saying I was a winner. Within a few days I had a meeting with the producer on Zoom about how the song would go,” she added.

The song which she wrote is called ‘Smoke Storms’ explaining “it is kind of a song about how we really need to protect our planet, as we’re not looking after it and we are destroying it. Climate changes causes these smoke storms when the sky is filled with smoke, which happen a lot over in the States.”

The international song-writing competition received submissions from youth ages 16-24 living in Australia, Canada, Finland, Ireland, Kenya, Morocco, New Zealand, the Philippines, Portugal, Slovenia, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, the US, and Zambia.

Songs were voted on by an all-star panel made up of musicians, social justice advocates, entrepreneurs, educators, and music industry professionals.

Joining Jenna on the Think Earth Vol 1 are musicians from Canada, South Africa, the USA and Sweden.

Jenna has been writing songs since the age of 14 and is inspired by the likes of Pink, Billie Eilish and Taylor Swift.

Her family are obviously delighted with the win and her friends and teachers at school aren’t shy in playing the song over their phones.

Musicals and drama at the school was where she developed an interest in music and happily acknowledged the support of her music teachers Edel Quinn, Fiona Lyons and Eva Coyle and school musical director Tara O’Carroll, over the years, saying “I probably would have never started song-writing or playing music if it wasn’t for them.”

Next up for Jenna is the Leaving Certificate, after which she intends to record the song for the next album. Given her early success, it’s no surprise the 18-year-old plans on continuing to follow her musical dream, hoping to study music at Munster Technical University in Cork.

The ‘Think Earth’s Volume 1 EP’ and Jenna’s original recording ‘Smoke Storms’ is available on Spotify and Apple Music.

Connacht Tribune

Record crowds pack Ballinasloe to celebrate Fair’s 300th anniversary

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Crowds flock to the Fairgreen at the Ballinasloe Horse Fair.

RECORD crowds packed into Ballinasloe last weekend for the return of the famous October Fair – but it turned to be a ‘dry day’ for the punters with most of the pubs in the town taking the decision to close their doors on Sunday.

Hotels in the town also adopted either a ‘food only’ or ‘residents only’ policy through Sunday but Gardaí reported a trouble-free weekend in the town.

“There were huge crowds around and especially so on Sunday, but we had no reports of any trouble – it was practically an incident free weekend,” said a Garda spokesperson.

Many visitors to the Fair on Sunday expressed disappointment at the decision of the pubs to close  – although a few establishments did open their doors with special security arrangements in place.

The last ‘official fair’ took place in October, 2019, and while there was an unofficial event last year, it was only a small gathering due to the Covid restrictions.

An estimated 3,000 people turned out for the free open-air country music concert with Mike Denver in the Square on Sunday afternoon and Fair organisers also reported a very busy sales day with many horses changing hands.

Trustee of the Ballinasloe Showgrounds, Gerry Stronge, told the Connacht Tribune, that after a three-year break, the crowds had really thronged back into the town on Sunday.

“Most people I know that have been attending the Fair for years said that it was biggest crowd they had ever seen there on the first Sunday of the event.

“It was an incredible day – the streets were absolutely jammed with people – and it was most enjoyable with no trouble whatsoever,” he said.

Get the full story with loads of photos in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now, or you can download the digital edition from www.connachttribune.ie. You can also download our Connacht Tribune App from Apple’s App Store or get the Android Version from Google Play.

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Connacht Tribune

A remarkable rally sees St Thomas’ reel in the ’Bridge

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Clarinbridge's Conor Lee tries to shake off the attentions of St Thomas' Victor Manso during Saturday's Senior A Group tie at Kenny Park. Photos: David Cunniffe.

St. Thomas’ 4-20

Clarinbridge 4-17

DARREN KELLY AT KENNY PARK

NOTHING at ‘stake’ but pride and last year’s two senior hurling championship finalists had plenty of that on Saturday as St. Thomas and Clarinbridge served up a thriller in their final group game.

Both teams were already guaranteed places in the knockout stages but for the winners, a path straight through to the quarter-finals proper was the reward and they played like that meant everything.

Obviously, neither side wanted to show weakness ahead of a potential showdown later in the year. The contest even had a half-time scuffle that resulted in yellow cards for St. Thomas’ duo John Headd and Conor Cooney.

Despite all that and the changing weather, the hurling was the only item for discussion afterwards. Three first half Clarinbridge goals gave them a 3-10 to 0-11 interval lead.  Four green flags for St. Thomas in the second period reminded the county that they still are the team to beat.

And that was the talking point before throw-in following their 22-match unbeaten streak ending with a heavy defeat to Turloughmore two weeks previously. And it wasn’t looking any better for St. Thomas’ when TJ Brennan struck a second minute goal for Clarinbridge.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Country Living

Recalling strange times that ‘shook up’ our lives

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Country Living with Francis Farragher

THE other day while doing another of those clear-outs of old documents that are well past their sell-by-date, I came across a couple of letters from my employer, which jolted me back into another world . . . but still a quite recent one.

Their purpose was to indicate that I needed to show up for work in-person (an essential employee if you don’t mind!) and if I was stopped at a Garda Covid checkpoint, then I could produce this piece of paperwork. We really did go through some strange times.

There are occasions too when I leave my desk and just for a split-second think that I’ve forgotten to don my mask. That same feeling also crosses my mind at times as I enter shops or other public places but then I realise that’s all very much of ‘yesterday’s news’.

Reminders still persist of those black days across the country mostly on visits to healthcare settings like pharmacies, GP surgeries or nursing homes, where staff still wear masks, and visitors are encouraged to do the same.

It takes me back to a Sunday evening on March 15, 2020, in my local watering hole less than 48-hours before the arrival of St. Patrick’s Day, when we were all highly sceptical about any pubs closing down.

We reassured ourselves too that such a development could never happen in a country noted for ‘the craic’ as our traditional day of national celebration approached. In our innocence, we thought we were wise old sods . . . but we had gotten things spectacularly wrong.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App

Download the Connacht Tribune Digital Edition App to access to Galway’s best-selling newspaper.

Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

Or purchase the Digital Edition for PC, Mac or Laptop from Pagesuite  HERE.

Get the Connacht Tribune Live app
The Connacht Tribune Live app is the home of everything that is happening in Galway City and county. It’s completely FREE and features all the latest news, sport and information on what’s on in your area. Click HERE to download it for iPhone and iPad from Apple’s App Store, or HERE to get the Android Version from Google Play.

 

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