The latest chat
I am looking forward a lovely Summer Festival season ahead this year! I am due a baby any day now but will be togging out to play with The Whileaways at some of Irelands loveliest folk gatherings.
May 28th - Killarney Beer Fest
June 16th - Headfest, Headford, Co Galway
July 26th - Galway Arts Festival, Monroes Tavern, Galway
Sept 2nd - Omagh Bluegrass Applachian Music Festival
More dates to be announced! See www.thewhileawaysmusic.com for further details.
For the last 7 years I have been performing at weddings with my wonderful roots band Mad Uncle Harry. We did our first wedding in 2008 and without advertising or letting a soul know, the word of our music travelled and the number of drinks receptions and ceremonies has been building year to year! Since myself and Eimhin got married last year I love playing weddings even more. We've been to some wonderful locations around Ireland and it is really an amazing experience to sing as part of a couples Wedding day. With Jimmy at 2 years old now touring isnt as easy an option. For the first time I've decided to advertise! Our ad is in Confetti Magazine in the 25 Real Irish Weddings Issue. We have wonderful reviews from Bash Magazine and all the details of my wedding band 'Mad Uncle Harry' are on the Mad Uncle Harry page.
Delighted to announce that The Whileaways new CD 'Saltwater Kisses' has been going great with a 4 star review from The Irish Times and RTE Radio 1 Album of The Week. We've been touring all over Ireland since the album release. Check out our upcoming tour dates at our website www.thewhileawaysmusic.com. We were thrilled to perform 'Hi Lo Rag' on the Late Late Show - see video of our appearance below.
Hey Everyone! Well after a wonderful 7 week tour with Solas all over the U.S ending in sunny California I am beaming to be back home. I've a new lovely home on the banks of Lough Corrib in Headford, Co Galway and...(Drum roll)...I'm expecting my first baby in September. The fresh air and the trees teaming with lovely birds singing is bound to inspire lots of song writing! I've had to pare down my busy touring schedule but not to worry, the amazing and stunningly talented original singer Karan Casey is replacing me for the next Solas tour in Japan. Solas will be coming to Ireland in June (how sweetly convenient) hitting Doolin, Galway, Dublin, Belfast, Cork and Derry. It is so fabulous to have them on home turf after so many great shows in the U.S since last July. All the details of the shows are available on their website.
The Whileaways have lots going on too. Between Noelie planting the most amazing vegetable patch, Nic organising their wedding (Yes Nic and Noelie got engaged) and me like a clucking hen in our new house, we've churned out the makings of a new album. We've put down some of the tracks already, recording in Nic and Noelies country home, down the road from me. We are very very happy so far. Check out our Summer Festival dates coming up on the Whileaways website. We're playing the wonderful Liffey Banks Festival in Whelan's on the 18th May, The Doolin Folk Festival on June 14th, The Open House Festival on June 21st and then the Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre on June 22nd. We're also making our maiden voyage to the UK playing a concert at the Prince and Pilgrim Art Gallery. Lots of fun to be had.
The fruits of last years visit to Dublin to take part in a photo shoot for Bash Magazine have to the fore. Below is a gorgeous video (where you might spot mine and Nicola's head) created by Naz Films. Massive thanks to Bash Magazine, Hip Hip and Style Me Pretty for having us.
Noriana will be performing Christmas shows with Solas December 6th - 8th in Philadelphia (Solas Hometown!), Williamstown MA and Norfolk CT. All the dates and details are shown in the Gig Guide.
Anyone who wants a CD to give for a Christmas present they'll arrive gift wrapped and full of Christmas welly direct from Galway - signatures, notes- or whatever you can think of - send them on! Please take note of the final delivery dates! Get in there early! Happy Christmas Everyone :-)
Solas Tour and RTE Big Music Week
Sept 2nd 2013
This month Noriana is rehearsing with Solas for a Christmas E.P recording. Solas will be touring between September 6th - September 21st playing at festivals such as the Pittsburgh Irish Music Festival, Pickamania in Silver City and Globaquerque in Albaquerque. The full details of the tour are shown in the website tourguide.
Coming up in October 1st - 5th is the exciting RTE Radio 1 Big Music Week with The Whileaways. RTE are renting a train carraige from Iarnod Eireann and will be travelling the country with live broadcasts, musical performances and nightly shows featuring the The Whileaways, Lumiere, John Spillane and many more. Tour dates include Killarney INEC on October 4th and Vicar St on October 5th. The Whileaways have been creating a buzz after recent performances in Tonder Fest and their support shows with Tim O'Brien last month.
Noriana joins band Solas
Noriana was delighted to have been asked to join the wonderful Irish American supergroup Solas. Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. Fifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for "light”), Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés. Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals) and Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), Noriana will begin singing with them on July 13th at the Saline Celtic Festival and will continue throughout July touring at the following dates.
July 13 - Saline Celtic Festival - Saline, MI
July 14 - Blissfest Amphitheatre - Harbor Springs, MI
July 16 - Fenian's Irish Pub - Conklin, MI
July 20 & 21 - Hiawatha Music Festival - Marquette, MI
July 25 - Boothbay Opera House - Boothbay Harbor, ME
July 26 - The Colonial Theatre - Bethlehem, NH
July 27 & 28 - Festival Memoire at Racines - Jolliette, Quebec
July 30 - CHIRP - Ridgefield, CT
July 31 - Subculture - NYC
Aug 2 - Strings Music Festival - Steamboat Springs, CO
Aug 3 & 4 - Beartrap Summer Festival - Casper, WY
The Whileaways Album Irish Times Review
Americana has always found firm purchase round these parts, and this newly hewn trio mine a rich seam that owes something to Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris and Rodney Crowell. But mostly The Whileaways deal a hand all of their own making. With a seven original songs and a refreshingly spirited take on the hoary old The Banks of the Ohio, Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell cut a confident trail through the undergrowth of roots music. Kennedy’s songwriting is the highlight of this set piece, with opener Dear My Maker managing to both set and steal the scene in a few short minutes. Kennedy and Joyce harmonise with sibling-like ease, while McDonnell adds a six stringed backbone to the mix. This is an audacious debut (which hollers for a chance to be heard in a live setting, so rich is its lyrical tapestry) from musicians whose experience pays ample dividends here.
Download: Dear My Maker
Siobhan Long, Irish Times 28/6/2013
June Tour Dates
Folk music today is the result of generations of movement and migration, of leave-taking and homecoming, back and forth across the ocean. Dingle singer and Lumiere star Pauline Scanlon, Galway's folk sweetheart Noriana Kennedy and Belfast fiddler Meabh O’Hare team up with Brooklyns Jefferson Hamer for a series of concerts this month. With close harmonies and deft instrumental arrangements on fiddle, guitar and banjo they explore the songbooks from both sides of the Atlantic. Full tour date details are shown on the website gig guide.
June 17th - The Crane Bar, Galway - 9pm
June 21st - Ennis Roots Festival - 9pm
June 22nd - Aras Eanna, Inis Oirr, Aran Islands - 8pm
June 26th - St James Church, Dingle, Co Kerry - 7pm
June 29th - Conradh na Gael, Dublin (excluding Pauline Scanlon) 9pm
July 2nd - Catstrand, Dumfries, UK
The Whileaways CD Launch
Had a great time launching collaborative album with Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell - our group called The Whileaways. The album is exciting for me as it contains four recordings of my own songs, including Dear My Maker! Nic and Noelie add their lovely playing and harmonies and their own fab songs. It's available through The Whileaways website - www.thewhileawaysmusic.com.
The Whileaways by Jimi McDonnell
Get three gifted vocalists singing in harmony and you have The Whileaways, who launch their self-titled debut album in Róisín Dubh this Sunday, May 19. The band is made up Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie McDonnell, who joined forces when Noriana was looking for musicians to join her on a tour of Australia and New Zealand.
“I was promoting Ebb ‘n’ Flow, my solo CD,” Noriana says. “Nic and Noelie are good friends and great musicians. We hadn’t formally played together but we had played in sessions around Galway. “I booked flights and we all went out there. Really, that’s where it started. The music clicked. Nic sang a few songs, Noelie sang a few, and it emerged that it wasn’t just a thing of my own. So we decided to form a band, a collaboration really.
“After four months touring in New Zealand and Australia we pit-stopped in Japan. We had a lot of Saki drank! We wanted to keep the band going, there was something special there. And the vibe onstage is great, how we work together.”
The word about the newly formed trio spread among folk promoters, and The Whileaways were offered another tour abroad. That offer set the wheels in motion for their debut album.
“During the time in Australia, we got asked to do a tour in Germany,” says Noriana. “A promoter from there saw we were playing as a trio and invited us to Germany. Once that tour was booked, we knew we had to have a CD prepared for it. It gave us a deadline to get the material together, to write the songs and record.”
To make the album,The Whileaways took a road less travelled. Rather than going to a regular studio, the trio went to the home of their friends Larry and Olivia, who live in a log cabin just outside Tuam.
“We spent three weekends there,” Noriana says. “Another mate of Noelie’s, who’s an engineer, brought his gear down and basically converted the living room into a recording studio, and one of the side offices into a control room. We took over, and Larry would cook us dinner in between takes!”
The romantic notion of recording in a log cabin translates into a warmth that runs through the whole album. Being in a friend’s house also added a relaxed atmosphere to the making of the record.
“It helped the whole music to flow, and we enjoyed the process, which I think is key,” says Noriana. “I’ve come out of studios and not enjoyed it, which is reflected in the music. I think the good vibes of the experience are in the CD.”
Irish Spring Tour Germany with Wildflowers
From the 26th of February until the 25th of March I'll be performing with Wildflowers as part of the Irish Spring tour. We'll be winding our way all over Germany doing 26 concerts is some of the nicest theatres and concert halls. Irish Spring is ten years in the running and gathers full houses of eager folk music lovers. For full dates of the tour see the website - www.irishspring.de The Wildflowers CD will be launched in Ireland later this May!
A Womans Heart 20th Anniversary Album
I was delighted with the news that my recording of Ola Belle Reeds 'I've Endured' will be featured on "A Womans Heart 20th Anniversary Collection". The new album that was launched last Friday features songs from the all star original lineup such as Mary Black, Delores Keane and Sharon Shannon alongside tracks from a few youngsters like myself, Lumiere and Gemma Hayes. I was invited to perform on The Late Late Show last Friday November 23rd to promote it!.... I've never been more terrified ...got to the end of the song and I got to meet the lovely Michael Palin in the green room. What a gem. You can see the video of myself alongside Noelie McDonnell (guitar and vocals), Paul O'Driscoll (double bass) and Meabh O'Hare (Fiddle) on the RTE Player. Thanks to everyone for the lovely messages after the appearance!
Poor Ellen Smith Music Video
New Album in the Making
After a busy return since I got home from Australia I've finally settled and am enjoying Galway again! The next coming months I will be recording and writing songs for a new collaborative album with Nicola Joyce, Gerry Paul (co-producer and guitarist of 'Ebb n Flow') and Noelie McDonnell. The band will be called Wildflowers. Four of my songs will be on this album including 'Dear My Maker' which was released on video early this June. We will try to cut down on gigs to focus on the songs and studio time but do keep an eye out or join my mailing list for some gigs coming up in Autumn. It's lovely to be home!
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Dear My Maker Music Video
Galway Ebb n Flow CD Launch
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