DURANGO, Colo. – Solas, the Celtic-folk super group said to have invigorated the Irish traditional music scene, returns to the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College, Wednesday, Mar. 14, 2012, 7:30 p.m. The show is rescheduled from the original Oct. 6, 2011 date, cancelled due to weather.
Solas breaks new ground by incorporating non-traditional Irish instruments such as guitar, banjo and bouzouki and interpreting a wide range of material in what is called “surprising” ways. The combination adds a contemporary spice to Solas’ sound, though it’s a sound that remains rooted in Irish reels, jigs and other folk song forms.
Solas (Gaelic for “light”) formed in the mid-1990s as a side project for several musicians who were already touring with other bands. Wide recognition came when the band performed on “A Prairie Home Companion” in 1996, and almost immediately Solas became one of the most popular Irish music groups in the world. With the 2012 tour, Solas celebrates its 15th Anniversary and its Shamrock City project, set for release in early 2013.
Shamrock City is what the band refers to as “somewhat of a milestone,” as it’s the first album Solas has produced without the support of a record label. A CD and DVD project, Shamrock City is inspired by the story of band co-founder Seamus Egan’s great, great uncle Michael Conway, an Irish immigrant who in 1910 sailed from Cobb County, Cork, in Ireland, to Philadelphia. Six years later, having made his way to Butte, Montana to work the copper mines, he was dead at age 25 from a blow to the head.
The story is one typical to many Irish immigrants who came west to work the mines, and the impetus for Butte earning the nickname “Shamrock City.” For the DVD, Solas’ members made their own journey to Butte to perform music from Shamrock City live at various locations. Shamrock City seeks to not only reveal the life and early death of Conway, but also illuminate life as an immigrant during the Industrial Revolution.
Throughout its history Solas has been drawn to musical social commentary, with the songs “Pastures of Plenty” and “The Wind That Shakes The Barley” core to their repertoire. With the Shamrock City project and current tour, Solas seeks to reach beyond the music by creating opportunities for fans to share their family histories at tour stops and online. The project seeks to create a more meaningful and open dialogue about issues facing America today.
Solas’ sound is anchored by founders Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistle, guitar and bodhran) and Winifred Horan (fiddle, vocals), with Mick McAuley (accordion, conctertina, whistles, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitar, keyboards, vocals) and Niamh Varian-Barry (vocals).
As reported in the Los Angeles Times, “Solas offers a compellingly original, strikingly contemporary view of traditional Celtic sounds.”
View the Shamrock City project trailer and additional Solas music videos at http://www.youtube.com/solasmusic.
Tickets for Solas, ($22/$32) are available on-line at www.durangoconcerts.com or by calling 970.247.7657, or at the Ticket Office in Downtown Durango at 7th St. and Main Ave. All sales final.
Showtime is 7:30 p.m., with doors to the Concert Hall and concessions, serving beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks, opening at 6:30 p.m.
The Community Concert Hall is a not-for-profit, multi-use performance venue located on the campus of Fort Lewis College. Its ability to bring a diverse spectrum of shows to Southwest Colorado is made possible through a partnership with the college, a state-supported, independent institution of higher education, and through financial and in-kind contributions from generous members of the community.