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Through it all, Kila’s awesome array of percussive instruments creates the kind of exhilarating rhythms that we love them so much for.
Adrienne Murphy, 10 Aug 2007
It’s impossible to imagine Irish music without Kíla. Now in their third decade this much-loved band still regularly send massive gatherings of adoring fans into states of incomparable ecstatic frenzy. And besides touring extensively, Kíla have taken to turning out more top-quality records than ever before, still remarkable in their freshness and innovation. Kíla are massively respected, in particular, for their maverick DIY business savvy. Recognising early on that record labels just wouldn’t know how to market their unique blend of Irish, global and dance music influences, they’ve recorded from the beginning on their own Kíla Records label. The latest child of that label is the brand new studio album, Gamblers’ Ballet.
The record opens with the fast and wonderfully uplifting ‘Leath Ina Dhiaidh A Hocht’. Spritely and playful, with a Vivaldi-esque lilt to the fiddle and uileann pipes, this track announces that Gamblers’ Ballet will not let you sit on your arse. Next up, the instrumental ‘Electric Landlady’ introduces the tribal, shamanistic vibe that gig-goers love to trip out to, subtle guitar floating over that distinctive fast beat, the tune driven forward by Dee Armstrong’s fiddle and deriving space and ambience from producer Karl Odlum’s space-age effects.
‘Cardinal Knowledge’ and ‘Dúisigí’ are superb expositions of multi-instrumental, multi-vocal talent, on which Colm O Snodaigh’s flute, sax and whistles converge spectactularly with Rossa O Snodaigh’s mandolin, clarinet and lute, and Brian and Lance Hogan’s guitar, bass and drums blend joyfully with the fiddle and dulcimer of Dee Armstrong and Eoin Dillon’s enchanting uilleann pipes. And through it all, Kila’s awesome array of percussive instruments creates the kind of exhilarating rhythms that we love them so much for.
Wonderful modulators of mood, Kíla bring us on an emotional journey in Gamblers’ Ballet, changing the tone halfway through with ‘Seo Mo Leaba’, whose questioning fiddle and exploratory whistles introduce the band’s darker side, offering our hearts the necessary chance to mourn – and heal.