In Celebration of the Human Voice - The Essential Musical Instrument
Founded in 1996, Solstice is a female vocal ensemble specializing in music written by women or for women's voices. Our music spans many different genres with an emphasis on world, classical, pop, and jazz. We are also committed to performing new works for women's voices and regularly compose, commission, and arrange new songs.
Solstice has performed in many Bay Area venues including Freight and Salvage, La Pena, the San Francisco Community Music Center, Music on the Hill, the Berkeley Arts Center, Trinity Chamber Music series, and Villa Montalvo. Solstice has also performed on KALW's Folk Music and Beyond On-Air Folk Festival. Solstice was a featured performer at the 2001 West Coast A Cappella Summit along with nationally known groups such as the Bobs and M-pact. At the 2007 San Francisco Regional Harmony Sweepstakes, Solstice was awarded 1st Place and Becca Burrington's arrangement of Joni Mitchell's "Blue" won Best Original Arrangement. Solstice ranked 3rd at the 2007 Harmony Sweepstakes National Competition.
Solstice released their self-titled CD in February 2000, recorded at the Presidio Chapel in San Francisco. The CD includes music from eleven countries in nine different languages, spanning more than 900 years, and features original songs and arrangements. Primarily A Cappella called the recording "a thoughtful and intelligent debut." The album won critical acclaim and a Contemporary A Cappella Recording Award for Best Folk/World Song nomination for "Blood and Gold."
The second CD, "Full Circle", released in 2004 and also recorded at the Presidio Chapel, has a wide range of material including the Macedonian folk song "Shto Mi E Milo," the Cuban "Bossa Cubana," the powerful Bulgarian folk song "Ergen Deda," Tracy Nelson's blues tune "Down So Low," the soaring, tambourine-accompanied "A Chantar," an original arrangement of Chaka Khan's "You Got The Love," and the original wedding song by a founding member Sheryl Kaskowitz, "I Carry Your Heart With Me." Primarily A Cappella reviewed the album as having "complex, difficult harmonies, well-chosen, rarely-heard selections, sung with spirit and joy by these six very talented women."
Solstice's third CD, "Rise", was recorded at Skyline Studios in Oakland and released in May, 2008. "Rise" continues the group's tradition of offering music from Palestrina to Paul Simon, in eight different languages. "Rise" also includes Becca Burrington's award-winning arrangement of "Blue".
Solstice includes members Emily Bender, Becca Burrington, Lark Coryell, Krista Enos, Mari Marjamaa, Kim Warsaw, and Sara Webb-Schmitz.
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Review: Veteran all-women septet, and one of our favorite World/Folk groups, we watched Solstice do the Bay Area proud by winning the Regional and placing 3rd in the 2007 National Finals. Urged by their friends and families to release a Holiday CD, the group finally and happily fulfilled this longtime dream, and Becca, Emily, Kim, Krista, Lark, Mari & Sara did it wonderfully! Choosing little-known, difficult classical tunes like Cortland Bender's lovely "Rosa Mystica," Francisco Guerrero's "A Un Nino Llorando Al Hielo" and Thomas Weelkes' "To Shorten Winter's Sadness," from the 15th and 16th centuries; beautifully arranged traditional carols like Bernard de la Monnoye's "Patapan," "Deck the Hall," and Franz Gruber's "Silent Night;" and popular Christmas songs like Vince Guaraldi's "Christmas Time is Here," Tommie Connor's "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" and Alfred Burt's "Caroling, Caroling;" along with the rich traditional Hebrew song "S'Vivon" and other favorites, make "Winter Solstice" a very special 15-cut collection that is sure to brighten your holiday for years to come!
Review: "Rise" follows "Full Circle" as the Bay Area's own all woman World/Folk septet Solstice's second excellent, finely-crafted recording. Winners of the 2007 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional and placing 3rd in the National Finals, the powerful harmonies and wonderful song selection have won this group a special place among our favorites. As Solstice's repertoire usually has consisted of strikingly performed World folk tunes like Sari Kaasinen's "Kappee," Japanese children's song Hotaru Koi" (Ho, Firefly), "Three movements from Finno-Ugric Landscapes" and Bela Bartok's "Legenycsufolo" (Boys' Teasing Song) included here, we see a whole new side of the group with the inclusion of Claude Debussy's "Dieu! Qu'il la fait bon regarder!," the Aretha Franklin hit "Chain of Fools," Paul Simon's early S&G hit "Hazy Shade of Winter," the Bluegrass song "West Virginia My Home," Edith Piaf's signature tune "La Vie en Rose" and Palestrina's "Tenebrae Factae Sunt" (Darkness Fell Over the Earth." One of our favorite songs from the group's 2007 live performances, Joni Mitchell's melancholy "Blue," completes a beautiful, surprising collection from spirited, talented Solstice.
Review: We have seen and heard Solstice, the Bay Area's own 6-woman World/Folk ensemble at the 2001 West Coast Summit and the 2003 Harmony Sweeps Bay Area Regional, and we love this group! "Full Circle" is their second CD, the first, "Solstice," won critical acclaim and a CARA Best Folk/World Song nomination for "Blood and Gold." Of the 20 songs we particularly enjoyed the Macedonian folk song "Shto Mi E Milo," the Cuban "Bossa Cubana," the powerful Bulgarian folk song "Ergen Deda," Tracy Nelson's blues tune "Down So Low," the soaring, tambourine-accompanied "A Chantar," an unusual dissonant arrangement of Chaka Khan's "You Got The Love," and the original wedding song by group member Sheryl Kaskowitz, "I Carry Your Heart With Me." Complex, difficult harmonies, well-chosen, rarely-heard selections, sung with spirit and joy by these six very talented women.