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Kila - “Lemonade & Buns” - Kila Records KRCD006

It’s been all of four years since Kila earned an Irish gold disc for the excellent ‘Tog E Go Bog E’ (Take It Easy) album.  So a great deal was expected from the new release by this Dublin based seven piece. Firstly I’m happy to report they haven’t lost any of their inventiveness.  From the opening strains of the “Compledgegationist” (try saying that after a Shandy or two) it’s clear that Kila have lost non-of their originality.  If anything they seem to have gained in confidence as a unit.

“Lemonade & Buns” not only consolidates their position, it also pushes the boundaries a little further.  Still driven to a degree by Eoin Dillon’s remarkable mastery of the uilleann pipes and whistle.  Coupled with Rossa O Snodaigh’s excellent Bouzouki giving the impression that Kila is a typical Irish traditional group.  That, however couldn’t be further from the truth. This album is even more of a cultural journey than their previous recording.  One minute you’re safely on Irish ground, then to Africa as the vocals transport you to some far off desert plain.  Before you know it the slide guitarist hints at echoes of Mid-West America, then a tune takes a turn into Eastern Europe.  With all these influences it’d be easy to mistake this collection for an album without any real focus, but surprisingly it works.  Yes there are many different styles on offer, but whether it be a tune or a song, each part has its place giving the album a sense of identity.

I’d never thought of Kila as being at the cutting edge of Celtic fusion music, the truth is that they’re just a lot more subtle than most at achieving their goals.  If the Afro-Celt Sound System is just too much for you then give Kila a try, you might just surprise yourself.

Keith Whitham

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This album was reviewed in Issue 45 of The Living Tradition magazine.