“Elena Piras was born in Sardinia, has lived in London and Scotland and now resides in South Wales having picked up an award for her work on the way. She has produced ‘Journey’ which is a twelve track album of predominately traditional Scottish folk music, but also includes songs from Ireland, Sardinia and Bulgaria. She has arranged and has sung some of the songs in Gaelic, Italian and Bulgarian adding to their authenticity.
This is an interesting collection of songs beautifully sung and performed by Elena, the surprise for me was the tracks six and ten ‘Izgreyala Yasna Zvezda’ and ‘Aide Momi Na Megdano’, which are Bulgarian traditional folk songs I think it was the amazing harmonies which grabbed my attention but both songs sound extremely convincing and also demonstrate her diversity in the world of folk music. Several songs are performed without instrumentation with Elena using just her pitch perfect voice; truly stunning!”
By Brian Inglis, Director of Jelli Records
Wales Council of the Blind Roundup
There is an interview with Elena in Wales Council of the Blind’s newsletter Roundup (Winter 2015 edition), in which she talks about her musical journey from Sardinia to the UK.
Sardinia at Twilight
“With hints of Joni Mitchell and allusions to Shepherd sighs, Elena successfully drew together these unrelated musical connotations in a refreshingly organic, personal one-hour set, which constituted the second part of the evening. … The first-rate bill I witnessed was utterly inspiring and professional yet comfortably informal, from start to finish. A musical, cultural and all-round educational evening and a credible publicity for why everybody should visit Sardinia – if this taster were anything to go by.”
Elena opens for Eddi Reader
“The purity of her vocal was greeted with strong applause and Piras had the audience clapping and singing along through her set.”
From: Adam Grant, Shetland Times, 18 July 2014 (PDF)
Piras opens up in style at village concert
“The talented Piras had the onerous task of warming up the crowd, but her deeply impressive voice was enough to grab hold of – and keep – their attention.”
From: Ryan Taylor, Shetland Times, 9th May 2014 (PDF)
Folk singer Piras hailed by charity
“Elena […] thrilled the crowd with a handful of honest, tender songs. […] Her songs capture listeners immediately and it was a special moment when she performed.”
From: Shetland Times, 6th December 2013 (PDF)
Sardinian-born singer moves to isles as her Journey is released
“Her Gaelic is very convincing, moverover it’s pitch perfect, rhythmic and emotive. It sounds like a blue print for how Gaelic should always be sung.”
Blind Sardinian learning Gaelic for one year wins 2012 Mod trophy
“In a stunning achievement assisted by three short courses in Gaelic at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, the inspirational Gaelic college on the shores of the Sound of Sleat in Skye, a Sardinian-born singer, Elena Piras has won the Margot Campbell Trophy at the 2012 Royal National Mod in Dunoon after one year learning the language.”
From: Argyll News, 30th October 2012 (PDF)
Brave Elena’s Mod
A Pitlochry singer travelled to Dunoon by public transport on her own and won the Margot Campbell Trophy at the Royal National Mòd. Elena Piras’ story is one of remarkable courage – she is blind.
From: Gordon Neish, Dunoon Observer, 26 October 2012. (PDF)
Blind since birth, Elena Piras is a 29-year old opera, jazz and folk singer from Sasseri in Sardinia who moved to England aged 18, she went on to work at the Royal Scottish Academy of Art in Edinburgh, where she now lives.
Breaking the sound barrier … in Gaelic
Blind singer masters language to triumph at the Mod.
Winner beats the odds
“The Sardinian-born singer studied determinedly for 12 months to overcome her blindness to learn Gaelic to the high standard essential to qualify just to take part in the prestigious competition.”
From: The Press and Journal (PDF)
Sardinian-born Elena inherited her father’s love of singing, particularly folk music. As a young child she sang in church choirs, and also regularly appeared on local Italian TV. By the time she was a teenager Elena was an experienced artist performing for large audiences and was singing and playing guitar professionally. Since moving to the UK at the age of 18, Elena, who speaks seven languages, has lived in London, where she co-founded and toured with the successful London Bulgarian choir.
In 2006 she moved to Edinburgh, where her work at the Royal Scottish Academy of Art gave her the opportunity to become fully immersed in the music scene in Scotland. Elena is now resident in Lerwick, Shetland, where, along with her singing performances at a full range of venues from gigs to festivals, she’s working on her own material and writing arrangements for traditional Shetland songs.
If you’re interested in booking Elena Piras or you’d like more information about her, please contact her here.
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