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Folk column: No sleep 'till Picnic
A new record confirms Kíla’s status as the P-Funk All-Stars of traditional Irish music.
Greg McAteer, 16 Aug 2007
Kíla, the band that never sleeps, have released ‘Leath Ina Dhiadh A Hocht/Half Eight’ as a radio single (you can get it on iTunes too). Described by Ronan as a ‘morning cocktail song’, it is about getting up at half eight in the morning after an amazing night, with the sun just up and shining on the remains of the party from the night before. It comes from their latest album Gamblers' Ballet, which they are releasing on Friday August 10. They aren’t having a launch as such, as they’re far too busy touring and playing as many festivals as they can manage to get to, including the Festival of World Cultures in Dun Laoghaire on August 25, which you could probably think of as a default Irish launch if they weren’t playing at the Electric Picnic on Sunday September 2.
The album contains some live favourites, including full band versions of a couple of tracks – ‘Seo Mo Leaba’ and ‘Duisigi’ – that first surfaced on Ronan’s solo album ‘Tonnta Ro’. There are also a number of tracks that show just how much the band have got their groove on, from the jazzy ‘Her Royal Waggeldy Toes’ to a groovy version of ‘Electric Landlady’. Does all this make Kila the P-Funk All Stars of Irish traditional music? Very possibly. Very possibly indeed.
The Tall Poppy Club, Dundalk’s singer-songwriter launch pad night, celebrates its first anniversary with a gig on Wednesday August 15. Although the club normally features three or four acts performing in the intimate surroundings of the Spirit Store’s back room, the birthday bash moves it up to the main venue and calls back 10 of the night’s favourite acts from the preceding year.
There has always been a vibrant music scene in Dundalk, and with the opening of the Spirit Store as a venue, that scene found a natural focus. Now, seven years on, you can walk in on any given night and meet one of an increasingly eclectic mix of musicians. As the venue built a solid place in the hearts of touring musicians though, something kept niggling at venue manager Derek Turner. That something was the need to reflect the local scene, to re-focus the place on the community of local musicians who had always breathed life into it, and to give them a platform where they could perform and start to build an audience for local music.