(September 2008) 12 tracks (51 mins): Eoin Bear's Reel / Tune For Sharon / The Rossa Reel * Seven Curses * Tilly's Jig / The Happy Traveler * Mollai Na Gcuach Ni Chuilleanain * Merry Go Round * Sunday's Waltz / Solo Double Oh * Vital Mental Medicine / The Pullet * Sailor Song * There Is A Time * John Riordan's Heels / Hoban's White House / The Lisnagun Jig * The Gallant Hussar * My Dream of You.
The first studio album in four years from the top traditional Irish group from America - their first with new singer Mairead Phelan.
In a manner befitting their name (a Gaelic word meaning 'light'), Solas burst onto a largely dormant Irish music scene and almost instantly became a beacon - an incandescent ensemble that found contemporary relevance in timeless traditions without ever stooping to crossover clichés.
Now, as Mairead Phelan, an exciting young singer from Kilkenny, steps up to lend her exquisite vocals to the existing line up, the band heads into their second decade of playing tight, fiery Irish music.
For Love and Laughter breaks fresh ground in duets with Canada’s folk phenoms The Dukhs and an inspired rendition of Rickie Lee Jones' Sailor Song, while it continues to offer the imaginative reinterpretations of traditional material that Solas has been playing to the delight of their fans worldwide.
Solas are Seamus Egan (flute, banjo, guitar, whistles, mandolin, bodhran, snare, percussion), Winifred Horan (fiddles, viola, harmony vocals), Mick McAuley (accordion, organ, vocals), Eamon McElholm (guitar, piano, organ, vocals) and Mairead Phelan (vocals) with The Duhks, Natalie Haas (cello), Chico Huff (bass), John Anthony (bodhran, drums, percussion) and Dirk Powell (bass).
"Sometimes we're so preoccupied with trad musicians overstepping boundaries that we miss their leap into the blue yonder. Solas's Irish-American roots are the very things that seem to free them from the perils of navel-gazing. First, there's an urbane cosmopolitanism in the multi-instrumentalism of Seamus Egan. Then there are the compositional contributions from four of the five band members. Solas relish that primal flux of influences from zydeco to klezmer, jazz and bluegrass that bathed the likes of Michael Coleman and James Morrison before them. Amid a raft of busy arrangements and collaboration with The Duhks, newcomer vocalist Mairead Phelan excels on Mollaí Na gCuach Ní Chuilleanáin , and Winifred Horan's sublime My Dream Of You lingers long after the final note has sounded." (Siobhan Long, Irish Times)
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