Artist profiles: Solas

Solas in 2006

Solas is the most important Irish music band based in the United States. The group plays fiery instrumental medleys for which they’ve become famous as well as evocative songs.

In September 2005 Solas performed a very special 1th anniversary concert in Philadelphia proving that even after a decade they were still as fresh and edgy as ever. 2006’s live CD release Reunion: A Decade of Solas vividly captured what many described as a once-in-a-lifetime show.

In 2008, Deirdre Scanlan replaced original vocalist Karan Casey, who left to pursue a solo career. From Nenagh County Tipperary Deirdre is an All-Ireland champion vocalist whose solo debut in 1999 Speak Softly confirmed her status as one of Ireland’s most accomplished singers.

Solas in 2010

About Solas’ founders:

Born in Hatboro, Pennsylvania, Seamus Egan won All-Ireland championships on flute, tin whistle, mandolin and banjo, and wrote a score for the Irish stage show Dancing on Dangerous Ground.

New York fiddler Winifred Horan is a graduate of the New England Conservatory of Music and was a member of both Cherish the Ladies and the Sharon Shannon Band.

Dublin guitarist and singer John Doyle performed previously with Susan McKeown and the Chanting House and has recorded with Eileen Ivers, James Keane and Liz Carroll.

From Callan County, Kilkenny, Mick McAuley plays button accordion concertina low whistle and also sings for Solas whom he joined in 1997 after touring and recording with Niamh Parsons and Ron Kavana.

In 2010, vocalist Niamh Varian-Barry from Cork replaced Mairead Phelan as lead singer of the band. In 2013, Niamh was replaced by Noriana Kennedy.

Discography:

Solas (Shanachie, 1996)
Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers (1997)
The Words That Remain (1998)
The Hour Before Dawn (2000)
The Edge of Silence (2002)
Another Day (2003)
Waiting for an Echo (2005)
Reunion: A Decade of Solas (2006)
For Love and Laughter (2008)
The Turning Tide (2010)
Shamrock City (2013)
All These Years (2016)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.

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