Kila Records - 2004 - 72 minutes
Trad fusion collective Kila, who are steadily becoming a transcontinental Celtic cash cow to rival the likes of Enya and Riverdance, have made this their second live collection from choice cuts of gigs in Vicar Street and The Olympia over the last three years.
The album gets off to a jazzy start on the puzzlingly-titled 'Her Royal Waggedly Toes', with hi-hats and a double bass gradually giving way to uileann pipes and tin whistle. World influences are very much in evidence on 'Cabhraigí Léi', which joins Irish lyrics with African drumbeats and comes off like a chant from the Malian desert.
'Dusty Wine Bottle', by contrast, offers a yearning violin melody that sounds like it came straight out of Sicily. Mid-tempo 'Wandering Fish' and 'Bully's Acre' are quieter, more plaintive affairs that, unlike most of the songs on the record, could be simply labelled as traditional Irish music.
'Live in Dublin' starts to really get energetic with 'Grand Hotel', the first of three epic numbers in succession that last over half an hour between them. Ten-minute track 'Glanfaidh Mé' starts unassumingly and then relentlessly pursues a single musical idea, progressively building up a wall of sound that practically pounds the listener into submission by the end.
'Lunar Park', the title track from the group's last studio album, clocks in at an even longer 12 minutes. Beginning with just the plucking of an electric guitar, it whips up to a frenzied conclusion that leaves listeners sweating in their seats.
As if to allow us to recover, a two-minute song sung unaccompanied in the traditional sean nós style, 'Faoiseamh', follows. 'Seo Mo Leaba' ends the record in the fusion territory where it began, with bongo drums backing some remarkable vocal dexterity.
A common complaint about Kila is that their polished musicianship means that their six studio albums to date have not captured the entrancing energy of their live performances. In this regard, 'Live in Dublin', a disc bursting with the contents of a musical melting pot at full heat, certainly fills the requirements.
Tracklisting: Her Royal Waggledy Toes - Cabhraighí Léi - Dusty Wine Bottle - Tine Lasta - Wandering Fish - Bully's Acre - Grand Hotel - Glanfaidh Mé - Luna Park - Faoiseamh - Seo Mo Leaba