Inspired by a family story of immigration, mining, and murder, Solas and bandleader Seamus Egan take you on the unforgettable journey of his great-great-uncle Michael Conway's life in Ireland and mysterious death in America. Solas will present Shamrock City for the first half of the concert, followed by an additional set of Solas favorites.
Solas’ members, now based out of New York, have come from such groundbreaking ensembles as Chanting House, Cherish the Ladies, The Sharon Shannon Band, Green Fields of America and Atlantic Bridge. Anchored by founding members Seamus Egan (flute, tenor banjo, mandolin, whistles, guitars, bodhran) and Winifred Horan (violins, vocals), Solas is rounded out by Mick McAuley (accordions, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and lead singer for this tour, Moira Smiley. Through fresh and unexpected arrangements of age-old tunes, compelling and topical originals and covers, and unparalleled musicianship, Solas continues to define the path for the Celtic music world and drive the genre forward.
After releasing 10 acclaimed albums, Solas's band leader Seamus Egan was inspired by his family history to create Shamrock City – the band’s most ambitious project to date. Shamrock City tells the story of Butte, MT, a mining town at the turn of the 20th century, as seen through the eyes of an Irish immigrant and Egan's great-great uncle, Michael Conway. In 1910, Conway sailed from Cobh, Co. Cork in Ireland to Philadelphia and then made his way to Butte to work in the copper mines. Six years later, at the young age of 25, he was killed with a blow to the head. With audio recorded in Philadelphia and film footage in Butte, Shamrock City seeks to not only uncover the life and young death of Conway, but to also illuminate life as an immigrant during the Industrial Revolution.
It's no secret that Solas is often drawn to musical social commentary - "Pastures of Plenty" and "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" are core to their repertoire, and they've covered political songs by Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits and Josh Ritter. The themes in and around Shamrock City, particularly the stories and lives of immigrants, are reflected prominently in the headlines. 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. In the process, the project aims to create a more meaningful and open dialogue about many of the issues we face in today's America.
Solas show takes place on September 20, 8pm at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Sq., Somerville. Tickets are $28. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.