In the tradition of Mouth Music, the Afro Celt Sound System, and, to some degree, Capercaillie, Kila blends Celtic folk music with Afro-European rhythms; the band has achieved huge success in Ireland, where this album achieved gold record status. And it's pretty easy to see why: the combination of Irish melodies and Afrobeat rhythms is a winning one, and Kila's approach is unique enough for the band to stand out in an increasingly crowded field. They're far more traditional in orientation than Mouth Music ever were; the electric guitars and exotic percussion are there to serve the tunes, not the other way around, and their sound is much more down to earth than that of the famously slick Capercaillie. Singer Ronan O'Snodaigh has a truly unique voice, and he uses it to good effect on the lovely "Bi Ann" and the title track; there are also lots of great instrumentals, mostly taken at mid-tempo with fretless electric bass and African percussion percolating along underneath. If you're looking for something a bit different in traditional Irish music, this band is for you.
Dublin-based seven-piece Kíla have become a fixture on the international circuit, an achievement not exactly hindered by the world's love affair with all things Irish. Some of the instrumentals on Tóg &EACUTE; Go Bóg &EACUTE;
do slot quite nicely into the traditional genre, albeit executed with gusto and no little panache--the fiddle refrain on "Dusty Wine Bottle" really is quite moving, "Oh To Kiss Katie" a groover built around pipes and flute. It's when they open their mouths that Kíla most shine. Rónán Ó Snodaigh's vocals are as rich as the Irish-language lyrics, the harmonies and percussion giving their sound a strangely African feel on the title track, whilst "Leanfaidh Mé" could almost pass for gospel. Most importantly, they exhibit a charisma throughout that is far too often lacking in traditional music. A giant leap from debut Mind The Gap
and proof that Kíla are far, far too good to be just "another Irish band". --Phil Udell