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Solas

4.7 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Audio CD, June 4, 1996
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$13.99
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$13.99 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

To push his music into the vocal realm, Seamus Egan has joined three musicians from the When Juniper Sleeps project--fiddler Winifred Horan, accordionist John Williams, and guitarist John Doyle--plus singer Karan Casey to form a band called Solas. Solas, produced by Silly Wizard's Johnny Cunningham, immediately marks this American quintet as a major force in Celtic music. The dance tunes combine rhythmic verve and melodic invention, and the songs give the instruments equal footing with the vocals. Egan's special gifts have never had a better setting. --Geoffrey Himes
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 4, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Shanachie
  • ASIN: B000000E5A
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,273 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
No idea what "music fan" from Buffalo is talking about; those criticisms sound more like a criticism of the entire genre, from someone who doesn't know the genre enough to hear the distinctions and thus thinks it all sounds the same. (Remember your parents and "that screaming on rock music that all sounds the same"?) Solas' first two CDs--this one and Sunny Spells--were the height of Irish musicianship in the late '90s, and they were widely (and rightly) acclaimed at the time as the best Irish band outside Ireland's borders, and possibly the best in the world.
I would agree that there is the occasional near-throwaway track on these first two CDs--maybe a couple of tracks per album, or in some cases, just sections of a set, not the whole set. Also, rarely, the unison is so precise it almost sounds _too_ clean, with the edges all smoothed off, almost as if it were electronically programmed and played, without the rougher quality that a traditional band usually carries with it. (My wife--a stepdance teacher--and I jokingly refer to one of those tracks as the "Dialing for Dollars" music, because it really does sound like until they get into the second piece in the set.)
But there are far more moments of exhilarating virtuosity in well-chosen pieces and well-assembled sets. During this period, Solas had an unmatched ability to update traditional music and to breathe life into it without losing its traditional character or becoming the least bit "Celtic-new-agey." To the sorrow of many musicians, that ability seems to have left them progressively in their last three efforts. But this early CD, along with Sunny Spells, should be bedrock stuff for anybody who likes Irish and Scottish trad.
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Format: Audio CD
The amazing thing about this CD is that no supergroup should sound this good. In most popular music, an assemblage of great musicians usually portends an overwrought, discordant mess, the result of ego clashes and bad arrangements. Solas, on the other hand sounds like they've been playing together for decades. Not since the Bothy Band as there been such a fantastic group of musicans, as capable on the fastest reels as on the most heart-tugging airs (and "Lament for Frankie", written after the tragically premature death of the great flutist for Altan, Frankie Kennedy, is about as heart-tugging as they come--actually, everyone should hear Solas live, so they can be crushed by this song). Absolutely top-shelf.
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Format: Audio CD
This first CD by Solas is an excellent debut album for the group featuring roaring tunes and heart-warming songs, a trend that continues onto the followup album. This album has both beautiful and foot-stomping moments.

All the musicians are at the top of their form. Karan Casey brings a unique and beautiful voice. John Williams is at the top of his game on the box and is definitely the highlight of the album. John Doyle's unique guitar style is taking shape here and it's interesting to see what a delightful style he has created (listen to "In Play" by Liz Carroll and John Doyle for some of his best work). Winifred Horan is definitely an excellent fiddler (although she doesn't stand out as much as the rest of the band) and Seamus Egan is, of course, amazing on his managerie of instruments.

If you're interested at all in Irish traditional music, definitely buy this CD. You'll be captured from start to finish!
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By A Customer on September 22, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Powerful Irish group with fresh sounds that also hold to those of us who appreciate traditional sounds. A very good buy!!!
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
There is some type of charm that goes with a new group and a first album. Raw,young,separate, huge talents and the joy of finding each other may be what's happening. "Nil'Na Lá" jump starts the album with an invitation to "have a roll 'round th' blankets." This started Solas on a roll through their first three albums and DVD, a new following of fans and a love affair between the band and their fans. This gave traditional Irish Music CPR for many younger fans. A great way to learn Gaelic, and the lyrics are a message of hope, for "the mornin' has not come." Accordianist John Williams was with the group through this period of time, but replaced for the DVD. Vintage Solas is renewed in recognition each time new fans discover this pioneering style of arrangement of traditional music.
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Format: Audio CD
This CD is truly amazing. Karan Casey has an absolutely magnificent voice, and the rest of the band are wonderful players. They blend traditional Irish music with a contemporary feel, and manage to pull it off. The tunes move from a lilting, guiness-soaked feel (Nil Na La) to a haunting sadness (Crested Hens) to a strangely jazzy version of My Johnny's Gone for a Solider. Particularly impressive to me is John Doyle's guitar playing. He is often very percussive and aggressive, and holds the songs together the way a drummer might normally do. This is, quite simply, good stuff. Really good stuff.
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Format: Audio CD
I really enjoy listening to this album--especially the songs that highlight Karan Casey's voice. She has one of those pure voices that makes you want to sell your house and car and move to Ireland to work in a pub. Instrumentally, this band is tight, which makes all the difference in the world when listening to a trad band. My favorite tracks are Nil Na La (an upbeat Gaelic song), and Johnny's Gone for a Soldier (an angsty ballad that is heartwrenching, but in a casual way).
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