KILA GAMBLERS BALLET (Choice Music Prize nominee)
The first thing I did as I listened to my first taste of ‘Kila’ was get up and do a reel on my kitchen floor! It’s a drug, this music. No more, no less…
It’s like they took a fistful of Fairy-dust, a smidgen of ‘craic’ just for luck threw in heavenly melodies to the cauldron of delicious, heady traditional/ rock/ jazz/ classical multi-styled songs and instrumentals, making this beautiful collection of theirs.
Having toured all four continents, blazing a trail of unique style with an Irish stamp on it, this septet seems to win the hearts of all who experience their truly exceptional magic.
LEATH INA DHIAIDH A HOCHT – Starting with a simple beat and bass intro, this magnificent piece of music has a very exotic melody. With lots of beautiful orchestral music behind the vocals, along with the Uilleann pipes and more traditional instruments. The contrasting elements add to the charm in this number that makes ‘Gaeilge’ sound sexy!
Towards the end, a classical theme provides a sensational backdrop to the scene. Then the chorus returns and is sung concurrently with this. What a totally unexpected combination!
FIR BOLG – This has a very Hebrew ring to it like something you might hear at a Jewish wedding. It’s ‘Fiddler on the roof’ style makes you want to do a cake walk and clap your hands.
With a jolly bunch of instruments and rumbling drums, bodhrans and harmoniously played string instruments of all shapes and sizes, this is an exciting and tantalizing treat!
As the whole piece reaches crescendo level, a very flamenco – sounding guitar brings you back to the original Russian/ Jewish theme as it fades.
CARDINAL KNOWLEDGE – Intro lively and rhythmic, this is an instrumental which consists of a sweet melody performed in a jazz/trad style. I particularly enjoy the wonderful acoustic guitar solo and something like a mandolin at one stage. Lots of harmony and rhythm keeps you guessing which instrument you’re hearing. Going back to a dramatic finish, using that beautiful guitar theme again, it fades out. A nice touch!
BOY RACER – With Uileann pipes in the intro gutsy rhythm and great ROCK riffs going on, this number is exhilarating! It builds up into a crazy chorus of screaming solos, weird sound effects and that constant pipe theme throughout the chaos. A fabulous electric guitar is intricately entwined with a gorgeous lead riff going on. That contrast of instruments are reminiscent of River dance for me. The whole number is explosive, riveting and definitely wakes you up!
CABHRAIGI LEI – Cheerful and up-beat with close harmonies and a pleasant acoustic guitar behind the vocals, this song is sweet and appeals to me for its simplicity. A lovely violin comes in then which is breathtaking. It finishes off with a plucky acoustic guitar. The whole number is catchy and perfect!
DUISIGI – The beat in this number is amazing. Certainly different, with a reggae feel to it, ‘Duisigi’ is innovative, exciting and makes you feel like you’re at some wonderful beach party. The chorus is catchy and memorable and I’d freshen up my Irish just to sing along. Backing vocals sing exotic and romantic harmony that make the hairs stand up on the back of my neck! The guitar riffs are absolutely magical and create such vibrancy. A hint of brass injected towards the end lends a great atmosphere. I can’t stop playing it; it’s so fascinating and colourful!
A rocky reel with jazzy undertones and sweet solos throughout, this track will certainly have anyone who hears it twirling on their toes. There’s a fabulous beat, a keyboard playing amazing jazz riffs and Rossa on whistle doing some memorable solos. That lovely contemporary Jazz sound is just impossible to resist, with all its intricacies and variations. The guitar once again takes you back to the now familiar chorus, played in a huge CRESCENDO with heart breaking beautiful harmony on tin whistles and the wonderfully sweet melody that just can’t be ignored. I love it!
SEO MO LEABA – There’s a great sense of movement and drama in this number. Violin plays a brilliant solo and some zany guitar riffs come in and a bongo or some such instrument plays a choppy beat throughout, giving an ethnic feel to things. As in all of the amazing experimental yet musical creations on this album, the Irish language is used to create the rhythm. And if anything were to encourage people to brush up on the ‘oul Gaelge, this would!
ELECTRIC LANDLADY – Gutsy bass takes you into this lively instrumental. It builds from this with a couple of sweet notes plucked on guitar. Before you know it, you have all manner of instruments putting their tuppenceworth in! From pipes to whistles they strike out this wonderfully jazzy reel. It’s only when you listen to such genius and free flowing talent that you remember what music SHOULD sound like!

Review written by: Angela Macari – O’Looney --

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