Tóg É Go Bog É
(Green Linnet, 1999)
Kila has been around for over a decade and three albums. Now, Green Linnet has released their latest recording, Tóg É Go Bog É, in the United States. The title is Irish for "take it easy" although, in truth, even the slower tracks are not really conducive to that state of mind. Kila is energetic, to say the least.
A long album, it is full of inventiveness and unexpected turns; it is musically attractive and fascinating. Many recordings overextend and die after 50 or so minutes, but this seven-piece band manages to hold your attention for the full 70 minutes of playing time -- a rare feat.
The band in some ways has always been together. At its core are the three ÓSnodaigh brothers: percussionist and singer Rónán, Colm on whistle, flute and vocals, and Rossa, bouzouki, guitar, percussion and vocals (they actually play many more instruments and compose, as do the other band members). They began performing in their school days, being joined by various other musicians until the current lineup formed in the mid-1990s.
Joining them are brothers Brian Hogan (bass and vocals) and Lance (guitar, percussion and vocals) along with Dee Armstrong on fiddle, dulcimer and accordion and Eoin Dillon (pipes and whistle.) More depth is added with a handful of guest musicians. Band members' track records include membership of bands such as Dead Can Dance, writing for cinema and television as well as working with Hector Zazou.
The sounds of Tóg É Go Bog É move fluently from highly spiced, African-influenced percussion driven tracks to emotional, traditional sounding melodies (in fact, all the 15 tracks are composed by the band -- beware, there is a hidden finale.) There is a hypnotic quality which absorbs your attention as they make great use of both acoustic and electric instruments.
It is the singing which most catches my attention. The distinctive voices are well-suited to the material. At times sad, at times flowing, they capture the mood perfectly.
Such a solid foundation and diverse collection of sounds, performed with confidence and skill, make this the kind of album you want to play over and over. Kila are carving a niche for themselves where few others will dare tread.
[ by Jamie O'Brien ]