Solas, “Irish America’s most influential band” (NPR’s THE THISTLE AND SHAMROCK) announces Shamrock City, their 11th and most ambitious project to date on February 5: a family story of immigration, mining and murder, and the remarkable history of Butte, MT. Special guests include Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops & Aoife O’Donovan of Crooked Still.
In 1910, Solas band leader Seamus Egan’s great-great uncle Michael Conway left his home in Co. Mayo, Ireland and boarded a ship for America. He was headed to the copper mines and boxing rings of Butte, Montana, aka Shamrock City (named so for the influx of Irish immigrants). Six years later, at the age of 25 and in a cloud of mystery, Michael was dead at the hands of local police.
Shamrock City, as seen through the eyes of Michael, tells the story of the thousands of young men and women who left behind their homes and families for “the Richest Hill on Earth”. It reveals their spirit, tenacity and humor, but also the hardships they faced: discrimination, corruption within the mining companies, an unknown and unforgiving land, a system that valued the few over the many. One hundred years later, it’s their story, but the struggles of the working class and immigrants are the same. SHAMROCK CITY is for those then and now that believe in a better life, and are willing to risk it all for a chance at something more.
Solas is the quintessential Irish-American band recording and touring in the US today. Fifteen years ago, in a manner befitting their name (Gaelic for “light”),Solas burst onto the Irish music scene and instantly became a beacon – an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to clichés. 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 (accordians, low whistle, concertina, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitars, keyboards, vocals), and newest member and lead singer, Niamh Varian-Barry. 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.
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