Solaris have a new website/blog!

Please click on the link to visit, 

Solaris are:

Jenny Smith

Cherie Gears

Helen Curtis

Isolde Freeth-Hale

Tessa Smith

Solaris is an a cappella group with a difference.  Since their conception in 2006, the group have grown and developed their music whilst continuing to remain genre-less.

The focus of the group, which has brought together some of Yorkshire’s most creative vocalists, has always been harmony, improvisation and exploration, whether they are singing original Jazz-inspired compositions, African- or Indian-influenced pieces from groups such as Zap Mama, or the beautiful harmonies that they have discovered in more well-known songs.

Solaris have performed in many venues around the country, including an appearance at the ‘Hexham Abbey Festival, 2009’ and two appearances at the 2010 Cleethorpes Jazz Festival, and a performance at the 2011 Manchester Jazz Festival to great acclaim.  Following from the CJF success, Solaris were also invited to support Tony Kofi for his performance at Seven Jazz in Leeds.

Solaris also offer workshops to explore improvisation and vocal technique in an ‘a cappella’ situation, with some or all of their members, depending on your groups’ size or requirements – Please click the link at the bottom of this page to find out more.



‘ALL I ASK’ – written by Tessa Smith


Tessa Smith: The founder of Solaris, Tessa studied at Leeds College of Music, where she gained a BA(Hons) in Jazz Studies, in 2007.  Having recently released her debut album ‘Bookmark’ with the Tessa Smith Quartet, Tessa is also performing nationwide with PBS6 – a folk/hiphop collaboration.  An experienced workshop leader and one-on-one vocal teacher, Tessa has attended many training sessions, as well as being involved with the national programme ‘Sing Up’ – aimed at getting all Primary School children singing in school.

Ruby Wood (Solaris pre-2012!): Ruby graduated from Leeds College of Music in 2008, with a BA(Hons) in Jazz Studies.  In her final year, she was awarded the Yamaha/Classic FM Scholarship for Outstanding Jazz Musicians and was invited to perform at the Houses of Commons with the other Scholarship winners.  As well as ‘Solaris’, Ruby is involved with many other projects, including ‘Extra Curricular’ – blending hip-hop and jazz effortlessly, ‘Submotion Orchestra’ – live dubstep, an acoustic soul duo with guitarist Noah Burton, and her own solo project; ‘Loopology’.

Jenny Smith: Originally from Hull, Jenny moved to Leeds in 2003 to undertake a BA in Jazz Studies and was awarded the Leeds College of Music prize for singing (Jazz and Popular Style) 2006. During her time in Leeds Jenny embraced the music scene around her and consequently gigs with a rich variety of ensembles.  Aside from Solaris, Jenny sings with her own jazz quintet, who released their debut album ‘Love Holds Strong’ in June 2009.  She also sings with ‘Samzeo’, a traditional Georgian folk choir, and is regularly featured with the ‘Derrick Harris Organ Trio’ and the Brazilian sounds of the ‘Tombo Trio’ to name a few.  Jen is also an experienced vocal teacher, having taught a range of pupils from primary school age to University level.

Helen Curtis: Having graduated with honours from Leeds College of Music, where she studied Classical music, Helen now teaches piano at the Yorkshire School of Music and Drama.  As well as Classical and Cuban piano tutorage, Helen is also an accomplished accompanist, percussionist and vocalist.  In addition to Solaris, she sings with ‘Samezo’, and plays piano, sings, composes, and arranges for ‘Los Altibajos’, her Cuban band project.

Sky Burton (Solaris pre-2012): Sky trained in Performing Arts at Northumbria University, before moving back to Yorkshire and setting up an events company; ‘Starrysky Celebrations’ which ran community arts projects, festivals and events involving music, art, dance and drama.  Having recently qualified as a secondary school teacher, Sky now works in a specialist arts college, teaching music, drama and dance, as well as singing with Solaris since 2008.

Further SOLARIS information BACK