Kíla are an Irish folk music/world music group, originally formed in 1987 in the Irish language secondary school, Coláiste Eoin in County Dublin. The band’s first gig was upstairs in the Baggott Inn, Dublin, a gig that was attended by three people. The original lineup for the band was Eoin Dillon (uilleann pipes), Colm Mac Con Iomaire (fiddle), Rossa Ó Snodaigh (whistle, bones), Rónán Ó Snodaigh (bodhrán), Karl Odlum (bass), and David Odlum (guitar). Colm Ó Snodaigh, the brother of Rónán and Rossa, joined the band before the first recordings were made. Rónán, Rossa, and Colm Ó Snodaigh are sons of publisher Pádraig Ó Snodaigh and artist Cliodna Cussen and are brothers of Irish TD, Aengus Ó Snodaigh.
In 1991, Colm Mac Con Iomaire and Dave Odlum left Kíla to join The Frames, an Irish rock band. In the same year, Dee Armstrong and Eoin O’Brien joined the band as replacements. Dave Reidy also joined as a lead guitarist, though he emigrated to San Francisco a year later. Karl was then replaced by Ed Kelly on bass who emigrated to Scotland a little over a year after the recording Mind the Gap in 1994. Eoin O’Brien was replaced by Lance Hogan. Laurence O Keefe filled in temporarily on bass until Brian Hogan assumed that position prior to recording Tóg É Go Bog É.
In 2003, in a review of their album Luna Park, Kíla’s blend of Irish traditional music and world music with a modern rock sensibility was credited with breathing new life into contemporary Irish folk music.
In 2009, Donegal guitarist Seanan Brennan joined the band to replace Lance who was on a sabbatical. He has remained with the band since then bringing an electric guitar to the line up for the first time since Eoin O’Brien was a member. He made his first appearance with Kíla in early January of that year on a televised version of Leath ina Dhiaidh a hOcht.
In 2008 Kíla recorded “The Ballad of Ronnie Drew” with U2, Shane MacGowan, Glen Hansard, Damien Dempsey, The Dubliners and a host of other artists. With proceeds going to The Irish Cancer Society, the single spent two weeks on top of the Irish Singles Chart. The song was later included on a U2.com-only album of collaborations that U2 recorded with other artists – Duals (2012).
Kíla have played at many festivals around the world, including Dún Laoghaire Festival of World Cultures, Electric Picnic, Womadelaide, Glastonbury, Féile an Dóilín, St. Chartier and the Stockholm Water Festival. All members of the group participate in composing and arranging Kíla’s songs. they have also performed at student events such as the NUIG Arts Ball in 2010, the biggest event of its kind in Ireland.
The band collaborated with French composer Bruno Coulais on the soundtrack of The Secret of Kells, an animated film by the Irish studio Cartoon Saloon. The film was nominated for best animated film at the 82nd Academy Awards in 2010. That same year their music was heavily featured in two other feature films – Maeve Murphy’s controversial Beyond the Fire and Ciarán O’Connor’s Trafficked. Kíla’s music also features in the award-winning documentary film Fight or Flight.
In late 2011, Kíla published their long awaited Book of Tunes. Comprising over 100 of their compositions and lavishly decorated with photos, poems & prose, the book was a huge success, being described as ‘a masterpiece’ by Seán Laffey from Irish Music Magazine. The publication of the book ended a fine year for Kíla in style. Through this year they played three sell-out shows in Harare, Zimbabwe at the HIAFA festival, played at the Possibilities conference that welcomed the Dali Lama to Ireland and played the inaugural concert in Temple Bar Meeting House Square, under the elegant retractable canopies, two days before Christmas.
Rossa Ó Snodaigh has performed and composed for many theatre and dance companies. He composed music for Jean Butler’s Masterclass Dance DVD and in 2011 performed his compositions in the La Mama Theatre for Irish Modern Dance Theatre’s Piece Fall and Recover. He also gives numerous music and drumming workshops. He plays wind, skin and stringed instruments and sometimes during the one piece of music. He runs the Irish language tent at the Electric Picnic and founded a Gaelscoil (Irish-speaking national school) in his local area, Cluainín Uí Ruairc, Co. Liatroma. He has had three books published thus far, The Joy Of Pissing, Cliúsaíocht as Gaeilge/Making Out in Irish and Our Fada, co-authored with Micheál Ó Domhnaill. He also set up the Speaker’s Square and the Dublin Drum Circle in Dublin’s Temple Bar. He also played the spoons in Hershey’s Mousse North American advertising campaign in 1988.
Rónán Ó Snodaigh continues to develop his varying bodhrán techniques. He toured with Dead Can Dance in the 1990s. Since DCD’s Spiritchaser tour in 1996, he has focused his energies on Kíla and his solo work. He released his fifth solo album in ten years in 2010, Water Off a Duck’s Back. His latest book of poetry, The Garden Wars, was published in 2007. In 2010, he composed the background music for two episodes of RTÉ’s four-part documentary, The Eagles Return. He recently bought a guitar that folds up into a small and manageable size to carry in his bodhrán case.
Colm Ó Snodaigh joined the band in 1988, on the occasion of Kíla’s first festival appearance, at the European Youth Music Festival, held in Bonn, Germany. He recorded his first solo album Éist in 1990, his follow up Giving (2007), was described by Hot Press as a work of “true beauty” and featured contributions from Hot House Flowers, Liam Ó Maonlaí and Fiachna Ó Braonáin, saxophonist Richie Buckley and Lisa Hannigan. Colm played soccer for league of Ireland Team Bray Wanderers and was a sports journalist for the Irish Language weekly newspaper Anois. In 1995 his collection of short stories Turasóireacht were published by Coiscéim, his first novella, Pat the Pipe – Píobaire, was published in 2007 and in the same year his translation of Sandy Fitzgerald’s children’s story, Céal agus an Buachaill Gorm was also published. He is completing his book about civil disobedience in Corca Dhuibhne and on his next solo album, which is scheduled for release in 2012.
Dee Armstrong is a daughter of classical musicians Gillian and Lindsey Armstrong. She has illustrated a number of book covers, designed sets for plays and has worked with street theater company Macnas. Dee has recorded with other musical artists (Bobbie Lee, The Clay Dolls) and is currently working on a solo album scheduled for release in 2012.
Eoin Dillon is a piper with a unique style. Originally a cabinet maker, he taught woodwork on Tory Island before embarking on an apprenticeship with pipe maker Cillian Ó Briain. He is a composer and a Dublin music session organizer. Eoin has released 2 albums of his own, The Third Twin (2005) and The Golden Mean (2010). He is excitedly expecting a new set of uilleann pipes.
Seanán Brennan, a native of Ros Neamhlach, is a guitarist, bassist and mandola player, formerly a member of the groups Boxty and Georgia. During his days off he serves tea and bakes cakes in his mother’s tea shop in Ros Neamhlach. He torments himself by searching for even more guitars to add to his collection. His favorite guitar is red and is made by the famous manufacturers, Yemaha.
Brian Hogan followed his brother Lance into the band in 1996 having guested with Kíla in a tour of the southwest of Ireland in December 1993. Brian has toured and recorded with several bands such as the Eurostar Band. He has illustrated a number of books, including Rossa’s “Joy of Pissing”, and has recently been designing sleeves for CDs. His side project band Preachers Son released their first single “X for Sandra” in March 2010, followed by their début album Love, Life & Limb later that year. He is currently working on the follow up album. HIs video for his song ”COME ON” video won Best Music Video at LA Film and Script Festival. Brian and Lance are sons of folk singer Larry Hogan and artist Róisín Daly.
Who are you, kind stranger?
Who are you?
Are you gentle or aggressive
Since your traumatic ordeal?
Who are you?
And did you come from far away?
From west from north, from east from south?
Did you come from cold or from heat?
Who are you?
Come in, tense stranger
Sit by the table
Have a drink
Or have a rest
And tell us the reason why
Your quiet face is dark and lonely
Why your eyes are full of sadness
Who are you?...
In my pulse
In magical, golden company
In my footstep, in beds
In the great book of every months
I don't arrive or ever come upon
What's essential for my needs
And in valleys
In forests with the scattering of seeds
I fill with hope and then deposit
With each night's storm
I don't feel and I have never felt
What's essential for my needs
And good-bye, gentle stranger
Good-bye for now
And I wish you every success
And happiness from here on in
And you will always be welcome inside this heart
Whether lonely, whether happy
Whether the sun's wide smile is on your faceCan you provide a better translation?