The word is starting to get out about Solas, a group that is quickly becoming one of the most praised ensembles in Irish music. The five-piece unit, made up of Irish and American performers, played Thursday night at the Ash Grove before an overflow crowd that was eager to tap its feet with every reel and shed a tear with every ballad.
Solas' most immediately noticeable quality was its remarkable virtuosity. Flutist and multi-instrumentalist Seamus Egan is an energetic, driving player who charged the faster numbers with a kind of irresistible Irish swing. And his momentum was matched--often in stirring unison passages--by the similarly propulsive violin of Winifred Horan. John Doyle's guitar work, combined with John Williams' button accordion, provided a rich, almost orchestral-like harmonic texture, and singer Karan Casey's voice had the kind of pristine purity that allowed it to soar cleanly above the ensemble.