Irish band Kila have been perfecting their musical skills for over twenty years. They formed in Coláiste Eoin school Dublin, back in 1987. Since then they have travelled and toured extensively across the globe thus enriching their musical skills and rich vocabulary of sounds.
It was great to see Kila playing live at the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin last week. I was reviewing their new album Gamblers Ballet which is excellent. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anything like Kila before, their music is impossible to listen to and sit still, you have to at least tap your feet. I can’t imagine listening to Kila and not tapping your toes. It would be a bit like eating a sugar doughnut and not licking your lips, it is possible to do but why on earth would you do that?
So when I heard they were back in Dublin of course I was their newest best fan. The festival crowd was a light with the sounds of kiddles, banjo, uilean pipes. I won’t try to name all the instruments the guys play or you’ll think I being paid by the word, needless to say everyone was dancing. There were kids and folks of all ages, and nationalities dancing to that Kila sound. Right at the end of their session, after a few encores they squeeze in for the insistent crowd, Ronán Ó Snodaigh, Kila front man thanked them all, “Thanks a million everyone, for being yourselves,” I guess that’s what Kila are all about, being themselves.
I met up with Lance Hogan who plays guitar, mandolin, bass, drums you get the idea. Lance is from Dun Laoghaire so he was delighted to be playing in his home town. I asked Lance about the bands name. I was expecting some Gaelic Irish story but it turned out that “It was a name picked out of the air many many moons ago as a sound more than a name.” In many of the countries that the band has toured in, have words similar to the sound Kila. His favourite one was in Scotch Gaelic where it means “One that is so beautiful that words could not describe her.”
Among the many band members there are three brothers the O Snodaighs and Lances brother Brian, I asked Lance if this made for interesting family feuds, he mentioned that they had the odd family battles but in general it was a great having the opportunity to work with his brother as it brought them closer together. Like most families they were able to get over and on with things much quicker.
Its difficult to describe Kila’s music, it’s kind of traditional with a mix of rock, some classical and much more. I asked Lance what differentiated Kila from other traditional Irish bands. He was of the opinion that maybe traditional Irish bands wouldn’t think Kila were traditional where as the Irish music industry would consider them traditional, so “we’re stuck somewhere in the middle, what really differentiates us is that the music we play is original we don’t play old Irish tunes, it’s all stuff that we’ve written. A lot of the instruments that we use happen to be traditional Irish instruments but we play them with an infectious energy, we try to capture the crowd and energise them. Any crowd in any country will feel the energy so language isn’t a barrier.”
Back to the album then Gamblers Ballet, the bands have their own name for Gamblers Ballet they call it the Fast album because of it’s quick pace and because “they wanted to make an album that people would dance to or something people could tap their foot to all the way through”, they certainly achieved that. Kila have a website where you can find out more information on the band www.kila.ie, you can listen to the first song from Gamblers Ballet which was released as a single. It is called “Leath in a dhiaidh a hOcht” which is Irish for half eight. If you like this tune then you’ll love the album. It will cost you nothing to visit their site and begin a wonderful musical relationship with a truly amazing band. View images of Kila in concert