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Friday, March 26, 2010


The Secret of Kells
Music by Bruno Coulais
tot Ou tard 8345106542
21 Tracks 52:05 mins

With all the fuss being made over Bruno Coulais' score for the Oscar-nominated animation Coraline it is perhaps easy to forget that the same composer also wrote the music for another film nominated in the same category, The Secret of Kells, which is a very different kind of animation in that it is mostly hand-drawn, and the music is also very different in that it is partly performed by Irish band Kila, whose music, whilst rooted in traditional Irish music, also displays strong global influences, making their collaboration with composer Coulais seemingly the perfect fit.
Obviously, from the outset, the score reveals its predominantly Celtic style, with its very recognisable instrumentation, a few world music influences are blended in nicely, making for an entertaining listening experience.
Really, most tracks have something to offer, and there's a fair bit of development within them. At times, the music trips along, presumably accompanying Brendan on his quest, and occasionally breaks into something of an Irish jig; at others, it has a suitably mystical quality, sometimes enhanced by choir; and still others, there is a lovely pastoral quality, with some nice fiddle and Irish whistle work. Added to all this, there's more than the odd moment of action and menace, as in "Vikings," "The Eye," and "Build up the Attack;" and choir becomes more prominent in some of the later tracks, both in full religious mode, as in "The Monks" and "Kells Destroyed;" and as part of the mix. I could have done without the synthesizers that now and again make their presence felt, but this is a minor complaint; and I loved the ethereal "Aisling's Song," with child vocalist Christen Mooney's innocent delivery.
The last score proper track, "The Book of Kells," rises quite spiritually from a downcast opening to end on a joyful note, with a jig that wouldn't be out of place in Riverdance (according to my brother who was passing by at the time!). And there's more of the same in the two Kila tracks that conclude the disc in foot-tapping fashion.
Another nice score from Bruno Coulais then; well worth seeking out, particularly if you like your music with a Celtic flavour.
My thanks to the composer's publicists, Costa Communications, for bringing this album to my attention.


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