Solas (group)

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This article is about the Irish traditional group. For the Irish liturgical group, see Solas (liturgical group). For other uses, see Solas (disambiguation).
Solas live in 2010
Background information
Origin Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Genres Folk
Years active 1996–present
Labels Compass Records
Shanachie Records
Associated acts Antje Duvekot
Members Séamus Egan
Winifred Horan
Mick McAuley
Éamon McElholm
Moira Smiley
Past members Karan Casey
John Williams
John Doyle
Deirdre Scanlan
Mairead Phelan
Niamh Varian-Barry
Noriana Kennedy

Solas (Irish: light) is an American musical group officially formed in 1996, playing Irish traditional music as well as original compositions that dabble in the country, rock, and americana genres.

Their name comes from an Irish word meaning "light". At the time, the band was made up of Séamus Egan, who had already recorded two solo albums as well as a soundtrack to a film; Winifred Horan, a member of Cherish the Ladies; John Doyle, previously a member of Susan McKeown & The Chanting House with Egan; Karan Casey and John Williams.[1] Their first performance was in Georgetown University's Gaston Hall in Washington, D.C. in 1995.

Solas received national exposure on WV Public Radio/American Public Radio's Mountain Stage in August, 1995, and American Public Media's A Prairie Home Companion in May 1996. That same year, they recorded their first album and, in October, toured the U.S. A second album followed in 1997 and several members of Solas appeared on Karan's debut solo album as session musicians. Following their second album, John Williams left Solas to pursue a solo career to be replaced by Mick McAuley. In 1999, between the releases of The Words That Remain and The Hour Before Dawn, Karan left for a similar purpose and was replaced by Deirdre Scanlan. John Doyle left after the release of The Hour Before Dawn, being replaced by Donal Clancy. Clancy left after the release of The Edge of Silence, and was replaced by Éamon McElholm.

In June 2008 the band announced Mairead Phelan had joined the group as their new singer. In September 2010, Niamh Varian-Barry [2] from Cork replaced Mairead Phelan as lead singer of Solas.[3] On July 11, 2013, they announced on their Facebook page that Niamh was leaving the band and that Noriana Kennedy would be replacing her.[4]

In 2015, Solas toured with Moira Smiley as the featured singer and Johnny Connolly on the accordion in place of Mick McAuley, who was in the orchestra for Sting's "The Last Ship". Mick returned for the Spring 2016 tour.



  1. ^ "John Williams". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  2. ^ "Niamh Varian-Barry". Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  3. ^ "Compass Records". Compass Records. 2010-09-21. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  4. ^ "Solas - Important News from Solas: It has been a joy...". Facebook. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 

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