Long-time SOLAS members MICK MCAULEY and WINIFRED HORAN have joined forces with the amazing Kilkenny-born guitarist COLM O CAOIMH to bring you their new release “SAILING BACK TO YOU”.
SOLAS has long been heralded as one of the most innovative and exciting bands to emerge on the Irish music scene over the last two decades and have been cited “the best traditional band in the world” by the Boston Herald while the New York Times praised them as “a five-piece of extraordinary instrumental and vocal fire-power”.
So when Mick McAuley and Winifred Horan released their first duet album “Serenade” in 2006, it was received with much anticipation and widespread critical acclaim being voted into the Top 5 Irish albums of 2006 by The Irish Times. Another few years have passed and now Mick and Winifred have teamed up with the dynamic young guitarist, COLM O CAOIMH for their new album “SAILING BACK TO YOU”. Colm, who is a founding member of the steadily rising Irish group CALADH NUA, (meaning New Harbour) has spent the last few years touring extensively throughout Europe and Canada. A musician of supreme talent and versatility, Colm brings to the project his own unique style of tune backing while complimenting the gentler vocal numbers and enhancing the subtleties of Winifred’s unmistakable fiddle sound. Throw in Mick’s vocal and instrumental talents and special guest Chico Huff’s genius on the bass, and it all goes to make for a beautiful musical journey, sometimes haunting and soulful, other times joyful and exhilarating. The album opens with a traditional French tune called “Les Amantes Infideles” which has the flavours of a smoky Paris cafe while tracks like the tasteful cover of the LOW ANTHEM’S “Charlie Darwin” bring a unique realism and honesty to the album. And, of course, there are instrumental reels, Jigs and airs, both original and traditional, to drive it all on.
Born and raised in New York of Irish parents, Winifred began playing music at an early age. Her first instrument was piano, which she learned from her father who was himself an accomplished pianist and jazz trumpeter. His love for classical, jazz and traditional Irish Music was a great influence on Winifred and ultimately laid out a colourful and eclectic musical direction. She began fiddle and Irish dance lessons in the then bustling Irish scene in New York in the 1970’s. Her fiddle teacher was the late Maureen Glynn and her dancing teacher was the great Donald Golden. Throughout these years she participated and competed in many fleadhs and competitions in the US and Ireland, winning the US National Dance Championships a record nine years in a row.
At this time, she was also pursuing a path in classical music and ultimately won a scholarship to attend Mannes College of Music in Manhattan, as a teenager, for violin. She then went on to earn a degree in Music from the prestigious New England Conservatory of Music in Boston. This combination of both classical and traditional backgrounds helps to define the style that is so identifiable and associated with Winifred’s playing. In great demand for live shows and as a studio musician, she has worked with many of the finest musicians on the Irish Music and contemporary folk scenes. She has played and recorded with Cherish the Ladies, Sharon Shannon, Declan O’ Rourke, Belinda Carlisle, Mundy, Pierce Turner, Richard Shindell, Liz Carroll and many more.
Her meeting and ultimate collaboration with Seamus Egan saw the start of the Irish-American band SOLAS which has since enjoyed worldwide success. Solas has been warmly received for it’s live performances, timeless recordings and extraordinary musicianship.
Winifred released two solo albums over the last ten years – “Just one Wish” and “The Pleasures of Home” to great critical acclaim both in the U.S. and Ireland.
Mick McAuley was born into the well-known musical family from Kilkenny and has been playing Irish Music from a very early age. In fact, his first public performance was when he was featured on tin whistle by the late great Irish tenor, Frank Patterson at the tender age of five. Mick took up accordion at the age of nine and has since become one of the leading exponents on that instrument in Ireland. During his teenage years he mastered several other instruments and competed successfully in various competitions. By his late teens he had toured extensively throughout Europe at concerts and various cultural festivals as part of the family group, other ensembles, and as a soloist.
Mick moved to London in 1991 and recorded and toured regularly with the London based Ron Kavana Alias band and was part of “The Bucks” with Ron, Terry Woods and piper Paddy Keenan. Returning home for a while in 1994, he recorded and toured with Niamh Parsons’ Loose Connections and has also recorded or toured with Patti Griffin, Susan McKeown, Karan Casey, Paul Brennan of Clannad, and Eurovision winner Eimear Quinn. While spending time in New York during the mid-nineties he joined the band SOLAS and has recorded and toured with them during the years since.
2004 saw the release of Mick’s debut solo album, “An Ocean’s Breadth” which received rave reviews and was heralded by the Washington Post as “ Celtic Album of the Year”. While the album re-affirmed him as one of the best accordionists in Irish music, it also established him as one of the finest and most unique singers in Ireland. He is regularly invited to appear as a special guest of the European touring production “Celtic Legends”. Recently Mick has been spending more time in songwriting mode and has written and co-written most of the songs for the upcoming release from SOLAS called “SHAMROCK CITY”. It is an extensive project that follows the largely Irish emigration to Butte, MT in the late 1800’s into the early 20th Century, to work in what was then one of the largest copper mines in the world.
Mick has also commenced work on a new instrumental accordion album and is currently writing for an album of original songs, which he hopes to release in 2013.
COLM O CAOIMH
Colm O Caoimh has been a huge presence on the Kilkenny music scene in recent years and is a founding member of CALADH NUA who have burst onto the Irish music trail with two exciting albums “HAPPY DAYS” and “NEXT STOP”. His solidly imaginative playing and delicate finger-style is described as being both the backbone and powerhouse of CALADH NUA.
The mediaeval city of Kilkenny is synonymous with the meeting of culture and tradition. It was here; in an artistically nurturing environment that Colm O’Caoimh took his first tentative steps in music through classical piano and violin. But it was his intrinsic passion and love for Irish music that eventually drew Colm, a fluent Irish speaker, to the guitar.
Taking the long-tested and circuitous route of weekend fleadhs and national festivals the world soon opened up to his evident talents. Through a distinctive and unfaltering style influenced by guitarists such as Jim Murray and John Blake, his abilities were soon in popular demand both as a live performer and a studio session player. As an accomplished pianist and bassist, Colm is a regular guest of the trail-blazing Jeremy Hickey of RSAG (Rarely Seen Above Ground) among many others.
Colm has re-defined the guitar accompaniment of Irish Music, bringing to it influences of Jazz and swing, all the while grounding the music with his own unique driving, earthy rhythm. Coupling that with the subtleties of his numerous finger picking styles, it is widely believed that Colm is one of the most versatile and talented guitarists in any genre of music today.
Produced by Mick McAuley & Winifred Horan
Recorded by Andrew Byrne
Mixed by Andrew Byrne & Mick McAuley at the Engine Room, Pulse Studios, Dublin
Additional mixing at Marguerite Studios, Dublin
All tracks arranged by Mick McAuley, Winifred Horan & Colm O Caoimh
Track 5 arranged by McAuley, Horan, O Caoimh & Sean Og Graham
Additional recording on tracks 1 and 5 by Chris Magruder, Thundering Sky Studios, Maine
Cover/ Inlay design by Robert Hakalski, Visual machinery, Philadelphia
Mick McAuley- Vocals, Accordion, Whistles, Additional Guitars, Electric Guitar, Keyboards and Percussion.
Winifred Horan- Fiddles and Vocals
Colm O Caoimh- Guitars and Vocals
Chico Huff- Acoustic and Electric Bass