Orion - Dee Jarlett and Martin Hanstead (now known as Martin Solomon).

The LP Jack Orion was released in 1987 and we still feel proud of it! It was a very creative time with many of the songs being written by Dee and arranged by them both. It was recorded and mixed by Andy Greg at Gypsy Records, Bristol. Considering how primitive the gear we used at the time seems we are amazed by the actual audio of the L.P. For youngsters reading this, it was all done using analogue gear! Yes, no computers at all and we remember driving ourselves with the stereo master tape to the pressing-plant where our first thousand vinyl LPs were pressed. Happy days.

History of Orion

Orion was first born in 1982 as a trio called Orion’s Belt. At this time Dee was experienced as a singer in the UK folk scene. Martin had left uni and just returned to Bristol after travelling with his fiddle round Europe, the Middle East and East Africa.

The third member of the group was Stefan Hannigan who played a variety of Irish instruments and their name comes from the idea that they were three stars bombing around the folk clubs in a Ford Orion car.

They soon became a duo with Dee mainly playing guitar and singing with Martin accompanying on violin, bass guitar and melodeon. They worked hard, touring folk clubs, mainly in the Southern half of Britain and played at many Folk Festivals and music pubs. One year they did an average of 4 gigs a week! Dee had three small children at the time so it was a feat of organization!

Orion lasted for about 14 years until they felt they had made the most of their time together and were no longer enjoying the travelling. Dee went on to be a member of Bristol’s acapella group, ‘Sweet Soul Sisters’. She collaborated with her Sweet Soul Sister, Ali Orbaum and together they founded ‘Naked Voices’ who toured Arts Centres and went on to win many Edinburgh Fringe Festival awards and also the huge and lovely Bristol ‘Gasworks Choir’ which is still thriving after 23 years. Dee has become well-known for her choir arrangements of pop and folk songs and they are in demand by choirs all over the country. She is retired now but still runs a small choir, ‘Gasworks Singers’, plays guitar and backing vocals for local folk band ‘Swithin’ and has taken up the violin, to play in various string quartets, orchestras and dance bands.

Martin went on to join several bands, including ‘The Pindrop Band’, ‘Faeland’ and ‘Swithin’, and also started playing the celtic harp. He always felt a deep connection with Indian music and culture. He has travelled to India three times to study Indian violin with his teacher in Assam and now runs a weekly Indian devotional chanting session (currently on Zoom).