The pandemic has taught us a lot. We all learnt to adapt, use the time given the best way we could, appreciate the little things that make our life complete. For Rónán Ó Snodaigh, frontman of world music band Kíla, this meant getting back to where he comes from. The creativity kept flowing and Ó Snodaigh found the best companion in a friend and collaborator Myles O'Reilly, aka Indistinct Chatter. During the challenging period which some found hard to express themselves, these two filled a car with musical instruments and decamped to a remote cottage in Maynooth. Bringing with him a canon of new lyrics, inspired by deep and newfound connections with time, place, family, friends and… gratitude, Rónán found a nest in O'Reilly's minimal ambient textures.
One of the things we learnt in the past year is to be grateful. “It’s not finding gratitude that matters most; it’s remembering to look in the first place. Sometimes life lands a really mean punch in the gut and it feels like there’s nothing to be grateful for. Guess what? It doesn’t matter. You don’t have to find anything. It’s the searching that counts”. Rónán Ó Snodaigh recalls a valuable lesson learned in the pandemic lockdown. “Gratefulness doesn’t just make you happy — it creates a positive feedback loop in your relationships. So express that gratitude to the people you care about.”
Gratitude is an essential theme of the album. Being grateful to the ancestors, to the people making you company on your own journey, acknowledging the achievements you've made. There's a mystical aura surrounding the Irish Gaelic lyrics but frankly, is there anything else you associate more with the Celtic heritage than the language? And there are only a few masters of it among musicians we can think of, Liam Ó Maonlaí of Hothouse Flowers comes to mind besides the Kíla main man.
Another feeling you get throughout the album is the sense of peace, reconnecting with your soul. A little bit of soul searching can be done along the way, these sounds can wake up new emotions or unearth those hidden deep down. Trying to choose a track that stands out from a collection like this is an impossible task and not necessary something that needs to be done. The effects these sounds and words provide overall are more important than trying to make a chart of whatever kind.
These two forces of nature are always up for experimenting but the beauty lies in the well-known fact that once like-minded souls connect, whatever comes out is effortless and full of heart. This is not just an album. It ithe ultimate spiritual experience.