Solas (Irish: light) is an Irish-American musical group formed in 1994, playing Irish traditional music as well as original compositions, sometimes demonstrating an inclination towards Country music in recent albums.
Their name comes from an Irish word meaning "light". At the time, the band was made up of Séamus Egan, who had already recorded two solo albums as well as a soundtrack to a film; Winifred Horan, a member of Cherish the Ladies; John Doyle, previously a member of Susan McKeown & The Chanting House with Egan; Karan Casey and John Williams. Their first performance was in Georgetown University's Gaston Hall in Washington, D.C. in 1995.
Solas received national exposure on American Public Media's A Prairie Home Companion in May 1996. That same year, they recorded their first album and, in October, toured the U.S. A second album followed in 1997 and several members of Solas appeared on Karan's debut solo album as session musicians. Following their second album, John Williams left Solas to pursue a solo career to be replaced by Mick McAuley. In 1999, between the releases of The Words That Remain and The Hour Before Dawn, Karan left for a similar purpose and was replaced by Deirdre Scanlan. John Doyle left after the release of The Hour Before Dawn, being replaced by Donal Clancy. Clancy left after the release of The Edge of Silence, and was replaced by Éamon McElholm. In June 2008 the band announced Mairéad Phelan had joined the group as their new singer. In September 2010, Niamh Varian-Barry from Cork replaced Mairead Phelan as lead singer of Solas.