- 27 May 20
Epic album from the cream of Irish musicians.
Liffey Light Orchestra is the brainchild of Paul Egan, and Lekeila represents the collective’s third outing. Egan has been compared to Mike Oldfield, and there are shades of the latter’s Ommadawn here, including the anglicised spelling of the title - the Irish word for “together”.
But whereas Oldfield was mostly a one-man band, on Lekeila, Egan partners with a selection of top Irish musicians, including Moving Hearts veteran Anto Drennan; Riverdance uileann piper Mick O’Brien; flautist Brian Dunning; guitarist Des Moore; David Agnew on oboe; and Philip Begley on drums.
As you might expect from such a stellar collection of talent, Lekeila proves a sumptuous tour de force. The title-track is an eight-piece suite, which moves seamlessly from a delicate harp intro through a kaleidoscope of styles and moods: a spot of jollity in section five; church-like elegance in section six; and a triumphant martial climax to finish.
The seven-minute ‘Kilmashogue’ condenses the essence of the album into one tune, with O’Brien’s pipes in a starring role: novice LLO fans might test the waters here. ‘Gyroskop’ is another eight-part epic, more percussive than ‘Lekeila’, but equally brimming with textured layers.
Lekeila belatedly puts Egan right up alongside Irish composers of the calibre of Bill Whelan and Shawn Davey. The Oldfield-isms occasionally grate, and one might prefer to hear more voices too. But anyone still struggling to figure out why Irish music has found favour across the globe will find the answer in Egan’s monumental compositions.