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Solas

Blending a sincere love and respect for the traditions of Irish music with a sense of melodic and instrumental adventure that suggests a clear focus on the future, Solas have established themselves as one of the finest Celtic folk groups working in the United States, with more than one writer describing them as perhaps the finest Irish traditional band extant.

Solas is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan. Born in Pennsylvania in 1969, Egan moved to Ireland with his family when he was three years of age, and a few years later he began taking lessons on the tin whistle. At age 14, Egan returned to the United States, and already displayed a precocious talent on the whistle, flute, banjo, mandolin, and guitar. At 16, Egan cut his first album, Traditional Music of Ireland, and before he turned 20 he was already a seasoned professional musician, having toured with the likes of Peter, Paul & Mary and Ralph Stanley, and doing session work with Vernon Reid.

Solas began to take shape when Egan joined forces with fiddler Winifred Horan (an All-Ireland champion on her instrument and a prize-winning Irish stepdancer to boot) and gifted guitarist John Doyle. The trio began playing Irish bars in New York City, and soon joined forces with two other kindred spirits, accordionist John Williams and vocalist Karan Casey. Naming themselves Solas -- Celtic for light -- the group played their first show in Washington, D.C., in 1995, and in less than a year were offered a recording contract by Shanachie, the label that released Egan's first solo set. The group's self-titled debut was released in 1996, and the band soon found themselves a major draw at folk clubs after scoring appearances on the popular public radio shows A Prairie Home Companion and Mountain Stage. In 1997, the group's second album was released, Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers, which won rave reviews in the music press, as did the 1998 follow-up, The Words That Remain.

The band's hard work was paying off as Solas had become one of the most popular Celtic folk groups in America, but by the time the band released The Hour Before Dawn in 1999, Solas was going through a transitional phase. Egan had been experimenting with more pop-oriented material (he had earlier co-written the song "I Will Remember You" for the soundtrack to the film The Brothers McMullen, which later became a hit single for Sarah McLachlan), and the group's fourth album found them moving away from traditional sounds toward a sound more strongly influenced by pop and new age melodies. The group also began going through some personnel shifts; after releasing her first solo album in 1997, Karan Casey opted to leave the group in 1998, and prize-winning Irish singer Deirdre Scanlan took over as vocalist in time to record The Hour Before Dawn. John Williams also left the group by the time the fourth album was recorded, with Mick McAuley (who, ironically, had played with Casey's solo band) taking over on button accordion and concertina.

The band's evolution continued with the group's fifth album, 2002's The Edge of Silence, which built on the refinements Solas introduced with The Hour Before Dawn. The album found the group covering songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, and Tom Waits, and the disc was co-produced by Neil Dorfsman, best-known for his work with Dire Straits. The album found Solas making more personnel changes as well; Donal Clancy (the son of Irish folk legend Liam Clancy) stepped in as guitarist after the departure of John Doyle, and bassist Chico Huff and percussionist Steve Holloway, who had been touring with the group, joined them in the studio as well. When not busy with the group, Egan pursues a solo career and composed the score for the musical Dancing on Dangerous Ground. In addition, Winifred Horan also performs with the Celtic supergroup Cherish the Ladies, and has released a solo album of her own. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

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kch1996ookam i
love these guys!
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citygalestcs t
I love being part Irish, great music by this group!
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these people are so amazing....
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fast... LOVE IT
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I now can recognize this band without looking..I know them by their sound.
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lhumanite2
C'est ce qu'on appelle music, sans doute. Magnificent! !
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could be my favorite group for all time...certa i n l y for right now...I luv 'em!
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They are so fine.
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suzan_philli p s
Thank you for taking me home to the language of my great great grandmother' s home...
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Sorry..I meant..Winif r e d ! She's the violinist..I kinda like her..like 'em all, really.
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willimina!
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this group has my highest respect...su c h fine musicians..s u c h fine music..such fine spirit...
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Irish-Americ a n . Dang, I had to translate all yer wee comments. Yes loads of fun. Ha! Bury me in a fiddle folks. Aye, from California!
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i've figured it out!..just don't read it....
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AYE!!!!! Y'all. :-D
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killer singers..kil l e r players..who m could ask for more?
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I have never seen any of these artists reply to a listener comment so I know I'm ag caint leis an balla but I grew up singing with PPM, still know all their material and when I was driving trucail mo'r never missed a week of Garison Keiler, Lake Wobbegone and the Prairie Home Companion... a n d ignored that Garison is liobra'lacha flaming. And Anu'na is a favorite too. So, if the wall has anything to say to this anam ghaolmhara, O'Brian will be all cluasa.
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Frankly, I became disgusted along time ago with the way these immature addle-braine d chicken nuggets pollute Pandora with their superstitiou s CRAP beanmire and have wondered why Pandora has never taken them to task. Or at least give us Hide and Report buttons. I like the way you express yourself without profanity and get the point across. Dochreidte, aye! Bhi la' maith.
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but this music is INCREDIBLE!
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As a general rule, all that superstitiou s CRAP that people post is stupid, moronic, and utterly foolhardy, and anyone who says otherwise is an addle-braine d chicken nugget.
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yo dumb people!
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Karon Casey can bring me to tears
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JK it's bullshit.
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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msjann6

Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
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regina.corle y
So much sweet songs
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9463000
Can't get enough of them!!!! Love it!!!
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barbfinley44
I was privileged to see them in San Antonio, TX at the Riverwalk. What a fabulous group! I would love to see them coming to Washington State in the future.
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i love them; they have such lovely melodies!
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deanna19513
Just saw them at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, love at first listen. Awesome musicians and entertaining too.
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kirkdwebber
Their newest album (The Turning Tide)came out in 2010 and needs to be added here; one of my favorites!
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wtgillin5
Recently saw them in concert in Colorado Springs. Outstanding!
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rgspops
Great,they seem to sing from the heart! Hope Pandora will play more!
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and from Pennsylvania ! !
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and from Pennsylvania ! !
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mckennabandy
wow.that is all I could say, is
"WOW"
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zegypsy
Amazing. Just amazing.
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Passion
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I love this stuff...it talks and crys in your soul
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twilight_ang e l 1 9 3 3
Dancing on Dangerous Ground has an amazing score. Personally I like it as much as Riverdance.
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Absolutely one of my favorite. In concert they are literally breathe taking - you can count the seconds before the audience recovers from the beauty of their music to clap.
Another Day is classic . . .
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menginmt
Solas is one of America's BEST contemporary celtic groups. I've been a fan since 1995, when their first CD came out. Over the years the core members have been joined by highly talented vocalists, guest musicians and composers that have helped to enhance their amazing scope of talent. Hopefully Pandora will be able to feature their whole Discography in the near future.

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