Wednesday 12 December 2018

Radio: Kíla memories and killer tunes from down the years

 

Kila
Kila
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

The genesis of Kíla was when Colm Ó Snodaigh heard his younger brothers playing around in their Dublin home, finding their feet musically, and thinking, "These lads aren't bad at all."

There's the understatement of the week: Kíla have been one of the finest Irish bands of any kind, and one of the world's best in trad and folk, for the last 30 years. Arena (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7pm) brought in Colm and his brother Rónán for a live session and a reminiscence on their three decades pushing the boundaries of what is possible in Irish traditional music.

Fascinating insights, inspirational tunes and a deserved homage to a genuine phenomenon… not bad at all.

Dave Fanning (RTÉ 2FM, Sat-Sun 9am) shifted genres to pay equally deserved tribute to the greatest female guitarists. This was nosed on recent news from Fender - iconic instrument-makers - that 50pc of all new guitarists are now girls or women.

Dave spoke to Roisin Dwyer, music journalist with Hot Press, and Saoirse Duane, lead guitarist and vocalist with young Irish band Wyvern Lingo. In an enjoyable chat, they metaphorically kneeled in deference to the best, the baddest, the trailblazers.

A wide variety of guitarists, encompassing a multitude of styles and types: everyone from Joan Jett and Gabriela of "Rodrigo and Gabriela" fame, to Joni Mitchell and the gals from Sleater-Kinney, going all the way back to legendary country singer Maybelle Carter in the 1930s.

Today with Sean O'Rourke (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 10am) gathered in a real Who's Who of Country 'n' Irish to mark the launch of a new album, Country Roads: The Definitive Irish Country Music Collection Vol 1.

It's not really my cup of tea, but Ray Lynam, Lisa McHugh, Mike Denver and Jimmy Buckley were personable and can all hold a tune pretty damn well. Besides, Country 'n' Irish is hugely popular: who am I to naysay someone else's sincere passion?

The most interesting thing I learned from Maya Angelou's Autobiographies (BBC Radio 4, Mon 10.45am) is that this is the fourth volume of the American poet's memoirs. Four volumes!

Is the life of Maya Angelou really worth such extensive immortalisation in literary form? I'd never even heard of her until she read one of her poems at Bill Clinton's inauguration in 1993.

Finally, some bad news - maybe. Newstalk Breakfast (Mon-Fri 7am) reported on the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council's "stark warning" of economic slowdown on the way.

Kieran Cuddihy described it as a "damning" report on Government policy. Shane Coleman added, "This Government is very good at talking the talk about fiscal responsibility and moving away from boom-and-bust cycles - but not so good at walking the walk."

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