As a band The Whileaways sees three distinct voices combine to weave a beguiling tapestry of harmonies and beautifully crafted original songs. Individually they have each fronted their own project before uniting under The Whileaways banner and between them have released 6 albums. As a group they released Saltwater Kisses with a follow up expected. Blending American and Irish folk traditions The Whileaways have a rich history to work with. Musician.ie caught up with The Whileaways ahead of their performance in The White Horse, Ballincollig on October 27th and asked what brought Noriana Kennedy, Nicola Joyce and Noelie Mc Donnell together?
“We’re not really that different – that’s why it works for us. We came to know each other through the music scene in Galway. We all had different music projects on the go and were touring a lot with those, but our home was Galway, where we would end up playing sessions and gigs. We ended up at each others gigs, and then in each others company in singing sessions and parties and we just clicked…, (so much so that two of us got married!) After dipping our toes in the water as a trio on an Australian adventure, we had a pit stop in Tokyo for a couple of tiny gigs. We were delighted with ourselves after a few Saki and decided we’d keep it going and become a real band! Shortly afterwards we were offered a tour of Germany and that made us hurry up and get writing and recording for our first album as The Whileaways” says Nicola Joyce.
With extensive experience under their belts, acclaim and accolades to prove it, what does each individual bring to The Whileaways? “We write all the songs individually, so I suppose we bring the songs! We colour them in together. It’s a lovely process, and always reminds us that its a special combination”, answers Joyce. “We love performing together too. There s a certain feel between us that just makes it a real pleasure to play music as a trio. There’s very little work put into arrangements or figuring stuff out. Sometimes its just a glance at a gig or in the studio and we each know what the other means. When that happens between musicians then it’s something worth minding.” But becoming a trio does not mean that they do not continue to explore their own creativity. Adds Joyce “That doesn’t mean that we have to give up anything else though. There will be more solo projects coming too.”
Between solo projects, and as The Whileaways, the band have traveled extensively and were hailed as ‘a knockout of the festival’ at the legendary Port Fairy Folk Festival in 2012. So what are their favourite places to visit. “New York. Because its the most exciting place on earth. Even if everyone else says so, they’re right! Tokyo comes second for it’s amazing food” says Nicola. On the changing face of the music industry Nicola added that “It’s changed hugely. All of the obvious things like Spotify and Youtube have changed it forever. But our main thing has always been the gigs and I think that’s still the same. Get people in a room together and something else happens. And if they’re not too young and cool a few of them will still buy your CD at the end of the night!”
Ahead of The Whileaways performance in The White Horse in Ballincollig which comes just before Halloween we couldn’t help but wonder would the band be dressing up? “As my nephew used to say, “don’t say no, say we’ll see””. What is next for The Whileaways? “A run of gigs in Cork, Mayo, Galway, Leitrim, Dublin, Belfast …. There’s a few things on Irish telly and radio coming up. We release a new single before Christmas, then finish off the new album in the spring and keep at it!”
The Whileaways play The White Horse, Ballincollig, October 27th.