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 performance was upstairs in the Baggott Inn, Dublin, and 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 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, Reading and Cambridge Folk Festival, Montreaux Jazz Festival 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) conference that welcomed the Dalai Lama to Ireland and played the inaugural concert in Temple Bar Meeting House Square, under the elegant retractable canopies, two days before Christmas.
2015 could be termed the 'year of the awards and nominations for Kíla. They collaborated on the music for the Oscar nominated animated feature, Song of the Sea with Bruno Coulais. They received an Annie Awards nomination for 'Outstanding Achievement in Music in an Animated Feature Production'. They also received an Emmy nomination for their work on a Crossing The Line production called The Secret Life of the Shannon. In June Eoin Dillon left and James Mahon from Shankill took his place.