Luka Bloom > publications 2003
Luka Bloom - Articles, Interviews & Reviews
Luka Bloom Luka Bloom's Amsterdam and live at the Riverbank
Leinster Leader - 10 April 2003

Luka's homecoming
Carlow Nationalist - 10 April 2003

Luka's Irish adventure starts with new album
Sligo Weekender - 15 April 2003

Luka Bloom records a live album in Carre
Leeuwarder Courant - 19 April 2003

The Kitchen Secrets of Luka Bloom
DeMorgen, Brussels - 30 April 2003

Luka Bloom
KKunst.com - 16 May 2003

Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
KKunst.com - 16 May 2003

Luka Bloom is ready to hit the road again
Irish Voice - 16 October 2003

Leinster Leader - Thursday, 10 April 2003

Luka Bloom's Amsterdam and live at the Riverbank

By Theresa Murray

I'm on the phone to Barry Moore, alias Luka Bloom, arranging to interview him about his new (and first live) album 'Amsterdam' and his forthcoming gigs on home ground at the Riverbank. "Sorry, Barry, I won't be able to ask you much about the album because I never got a copy of it." "Are you living in Naas, Tess? Would it help if I dropped one up to you myself, no bother at all."

This never, ever, EVER happens. Famous people demand that you dance attendance on them, and this was an unconventional role reversal. A refreshing, down to earth, touching, distinctive, generous and humbling experience. A bit like his music really.

Luka Bloom is one of Ireland's worst kept secrets. His is a household name here; among the unconverted he is simply Christy Moore's little brother. On parts of the continent, America and Australia he is absolutely massive. His website guestbook boasts devoted fans from all over the globe. His is the sort of music you either adore with a passion, or ignore with an uneasy indifference. And this album Amsterdam reveals him at his best. Luka Bloom live. And so very alive.

It starts with the slow, measured Exploring The Blue and on to Sunny Sailor Boy which sends 'ooh ahh ohh ahh ohh' round in your head for weeks after one of his shows. On to the poignant but dignified Gone To Pablo which commands you to sway along with the crowd, and the staccato Bob Marley number Natural Mystic, then You which seems to tremble with emotion and the caressing Don't Be So Hard On Yourself, and on to the upbeat Bob Dylan cover Make You Feel My Love. Then to Diamond Mountain's Celtic melancholy, and the feel-good Perfect Groove and passionate Monsoon. The album seems to move up through the gears and by the time he hits Fertile Rock and the climatic Delirious you're sky high with him. Then he sweeps you back to earth with the heavenly Gabriel.

"Gabriel is a very special song for me, inspired by my son Robbie. He said something to me one day which reminded me that when I was a kid in the primary school in Newbridge, I had a great sense of having a guardian angel; I think all kids taught by the brothers or nuns have that," explained Luka Bloom.

I had intended to ask him why he didn't record the album in front of a home audience. One play-through makes that question obsolete. Good-natured roars of 'go on Bar, you good thing' from the crowd might be funny at the time, but would break the magic spell of this album. And while the Irish can sing, they like to be heard, loud and clear above everyone else! The 1500-strong crowd in Amsterdam sang sweetly in tune and on cue like a well-rehearsed choir.

"Right through the last 12 or 13 years people said 'we really like your records but we prefer a live gig and we'd love a live album.' But I'd never really got it; I always felt there was something unsatisfying about a live album. I'd never been in the audience so I didn't know what they were on about," explained Luka Bloom.

"We recorded a whole rake of shows around Europe and when I got home and listened to this show in Amsterdam I realised that this was really something special and that it was so special I could justify it being an album in itself."

Live albums are usually recorded over 10 concerts; snippets of a series of nights. This was over just one night and that makes it unique. Amsterdam captures the feeling of what it's like to be at a Luka Bloom concert.

"It was one of those rare nights; everything was right. I was just blessed that the tapes were running that night. The people I work with, my sound engineer Paul Scully and Brian Masterson, engineer of Windmill Lane, did a fantastic job editing a two hour show to 13 songs and 54 mins in a way that has continuity and flow."

He admits it was excruciatingly difficult to pick the songs. "The album has a sense of the journey of a gig; you start at one level and take it to another level. Choosing the songs was the hardest part of it."

And why did he call the album Amsterdam? "I wanted to pay tribute to the people of a city that's been very good to me. Amsterdam has been very good to me; it's my favourite city. To be honest with you I feel more relaxed and more comfortable with myself in Amsterdam than I do in Dublin. I lived in Dublin for 27 years after I left Newbridge. I'll always like it, and I have lots of great friends there and love going there, but as a place to live it' s too fast for me. I'm not a really a 'big city' kind of person. Dublin has become a very fast big city with a fair bit of aggression. In Amsterdam you still have the feeling of a relaxed town."

Many of his songs are love songs, dripping romance and unrequited love. "Yea, I suppose I'm a bit of an old romantic. People are moved by different things, inspired by different things. Sometimes you get a more spiritual rather than 'romantic relationship' love song. Love doesn't necessarily involve a romantic relationship."

And on to the song everyone is talking about, which isn't on the album and hasn't been released commercially. "'I Am Not At War With Anyone' is a very simple statement, written in about 20 minutes. I am very upset with the use of Shannon airport for this war. I'm not great at writing the real angry political songs. This is a very quiet song. People in America have become aware of it and are playing it on radio stations all over America which is kind of fantastic. I never intended to release it as a single. The war is happening now. I would feel weird about releasing it as a commercial single; it would feel like an exploitation of a really tragic, tragic situation. People can hear it for free on Lukabloom.com and download it for free. I may stick it on an album in the future and I'll sing it everywhere I go, and I' ll surely sing it at the Riverbank this week."

Barry Moore was destined to become a performer from the minute he was born. The youngest child in the well-known Newbridge family, the Moore house was always filled with music and song. "I remember very vividly the very first moment I ever held a guitar. Christy was just back from one of his forays into England. It would have been about 1965 and I was about 9 years old. He had this nylon string guitar and I held it and felt a shot of electricity going through me."

Things really started to piece together in 1987 when he changed his name to Luka Bloom. "I had been struggling for years before that. My mother accused me of being very resilient. One of my proudest moments was when she came to a sold out show at the Olympia about a year before she died and every time I 've played there since I can see a shadow of her leaning over one of the boxes. She had been through so much blood sweat and tears with me, wondering whether I'd get by and make a living and survive. I think that night she had a feeling I would be alright."

Now he will take a short break before continuing the gruelling tour to promote the album. Probably what he will look forward to most this summer will be Lisdoonvarna in June. "Myself and Christy are the only people on the bill who did the original Lisdoonvarna. I can't wait. But for now I intend to enjoy watching the flowers coming up in Blacktrench, watching the spring kicking in. And I'll be keeping an eye on my son doing his leaving cert."

The wheel has come full circle. The prodigal young Barry Moore, who was expelled from school and admits he gave his mother plenty to worry about, has returned home, to 'suburban Clongorey,' a settled and mature Luka Bloom, and reckons he's here to stay, for a while at least!

'Amsterdam' is now available in all good music stores.

Luka Bloom plays The Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, on 10 and 11 April. To book phone 448333. Check out his other tour dates on www.lukabloom.com

www.unison.ie/leinster_leader/stories.php

Carlow Nationalist - Thursday, April 10, 2003

Luka's homecoming

When Luka Bloom takes to the stage at the Riverbank in Newbridge this week he will return to his home town after a period of great change in his life and career. A new home, an anti-war song which is becoming a cult hit around the world, and a new live album which brings together years of material recorded during one night's performance in Carre Theatre, Amsterdam last year.

"A live album is something I've always wanted to do, many times over the years it has been suggested that I do this, now itís done I know I should have released a live album a long time ago, it's a great way of reflecting closely on my work", says Luka of his new project.

The new home is the place he has bought in Blacktrench, "suburban Clongorey" he says jokingly, just outside Naas, "a great place where the blue sky can be seen for miles on a beautiful, clear night." The anti-war song is called "I am not at war with anyone", and despite not been released commercially the song has been played on over 400 radio stations across America and down-loaded from his own website many thousands of times. "I am delighted with the response for that, it was never a song for commercial release, I'm just glad to have had my say about the war."

With a childhood like Luka's it's not surprising he became a musician. He was born Barry Moore in Moorefield Terrace in Newbridge, a place where there was always a piano in the living room. Anyone who dropped by was "required to give the room a song, and then the children would sing and a great session would develop in the place most nights". His father Andy, who died when Luka was a year old, was reputedly a great singer, and his mother Nancy "would sing anything from light opera to ballads - she had a great voice".

The family had a grocery shop on the main street, and were heavily involved in the life of the town, his mother served as a Fine Gael councillor, and on countless community groups, she also encouraged her sons musical ambitions, paying for piano and singing lessons, "a sainted lady, we were blessed to have her".

Luka, along with his brothers Christy and Andy, learned to play the piano from a young age, but it was a guitar given to him by his brother Christy when he was 12 that really kicked off his musical career. By age 13 he was playing in folk clubs in England as the opening act for Christy, and at 14 he wrote his first song.

While in Newbridge College, Luka formed his first band, Aes Triplex, with his brother Andy and best friend Pat Kilbride. "It was great craic really, and nothing more, not a highlight of my life, although Pat who was in the band with me, lives in Madrid now, plays music there and is a great man".

He was still in school in the early days of Planxty, his brotherís band, and he went on tour with them as an opening act. His early musical hero was Planxty member and Newbridge native Donal Lunny, a "fabulous singer and a great man".

He returned to school between the tours and then went on to the University of Limerick, but dropped out after two years, much to the chagrin of his mother. "She was after seeing one son go into music, and I suppose she wanted one 'normal' one, but she got used to the idea and was very encouraging at the end of it all".

Luka got his first taste of political protest in 1979, when he was one of a number of artists who played at the protests against plans for a nuclear power plant at Carnsore point in Waterford, when these plans were dropped Luka describes it as "one of the best times of my life so far".

After this Luka spent some time drifting around Europe. "There always was a bit of the rambler in me all right". Germany, France, and Italy were visited and their music sampled before he settled in Groningen in Holland, it was here that the majority of his first solo album, the suitably titled In Groningen was written.

The Newbridge that reared Barry Moore was a vastly different place to the one that Luka Bloom visits today. "I love the new life, the new blood in the town, the new cultures, the diversity, the changes have been unbelievable, Iíd hardly recognise the place now, the Riverbank, the Red House and the Old Mill make it a great town for live music".

"I also love what they have done with the strand, It is a place I am very fond of, I had my first fag there, my first beer, and my first kiss, it had been let go a bit, so I'm delighted with the way it has been done up now".

In 1982 he released his second album, No Heroes, spent some time playing with Manus Lunny, and then headed off into a new musical experience, forming a punky rock band called "Red Square", which lasted for three years. "Another experience to chalk up, it was like a second adolescence, spending loads of time talking in the studio, planning what we were going to do, but not playing much, it was great craic though".

Luka took off for America in 1987 and played in myriad small clubs around New York and Washington, performing with artists such as Lou Reed and Roseanne Cash, soaking up the different musical influences which he poured in to his 1988 album, "Riverside". He also recorded a cover of a rap song which was released in America when he was there, "It was a chance to do something different, keep me fresh, hungry and interestingĒ. This song appeared on the 1990 album "Acoustic Motorbike".

He spent the next few years touring Australia, America and Europe, playing at folk festivals and small clubs. His political principals came to the fore again at this time when got involved with the campaign to save a part of the Burren "my favourite place in the world", from developers in 1994. Much of his next album Keeper of the Flame (1995) was written about this time.

In 2001 Luka made the decision to become an independent performer, with his own record label, "The pop idols and such of the world have taken up a lot of the record producers time, but for all of that, there is another world out there, an active live music scene, with top class performers such as Glen Hansard and Mundy not having record deals, but playing to big crowds all over the country, so it's actually a great time to be a singer songwriter in Ireland at the moment".

And so it's back to where it all began. The Riverbank in Newbridge on April 10 and 11, his home town and home crowd, playing the songs he has written and performed over the decades. Any ambitions left Luka? "Well, peace on Earth would be nice. Oh, and a big hit record for myself".

"I am just an old troubadour really, playing me music, singing me songs, having a bit of craic while doing it, itís a great life really and I love every minute of it, hope to continue doing it forever."

Luka Bloom plays at the Riverbank Arts Centre, Newbridge, tomorrow (Thursday) and Friday.

www.carlow-nationalist.ie

Sligo Weekender - Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Luka's Irish adventure starts with new album

When you interview someone and their first words to you are: "I've been hanging on the bloody phone for your call for the past hour", the omens are not good. However, Luka Bloom's mischievous sense of humour had already caught me out. Winding people up is, it seems, a speciality of Mr Moore....

The reason for talking to one of Ireland's most famous musical exports was two-fold. Firstly Mr Bloom was on the look-out for a venue in Sligo in which to play later this month or in early May. Secondly, and more importantly, was to discuss the release of his first ever live album, 'Amsterdam'. Bloom's third album in two years (the others being 'Between the Mountain and the Moon' and 'Keeper of the Flame') was also the most unexpected. "Releasing a live album is a new experience for me. I had no intention of making a live album. I recorded loads of shows last year, but only with a view of using some as b-sides, but when I heard this particular show there was something very special for me." The show in question was held in February 2002 in the beautiful Carre Theatre in Amsterdam. Luka played to a large audience of devoted fans, who had travelled from as far as the West Coast of Clare, Cork, Kildare, Boulder Colorado and Germany to see him perform.

"Every now and then you're fortunate to have a night where, as soon as you walk into the room, there is magic. This was one of those nights," said a still enthusiastic Bloom.

It is possibly that enthusiasm and boundless energy which has endeared Bloom to so many. Well, that and his music, which shares some very Irish and also some very universal influences and sounds. Strangely, his appeal on the continent and across the Atlantic far outweighs his popularity at home. Having first hit the road at the age of 14, Bloom was keen to leave Ireland behind for pastures new as a young twentysomething.

However, now as a more seasoned performer he is keen to return to Ireland and make as big an effort here as he has elsewhere. "The one big difference between home and abroad is when I do a gig in Holland or Belgium or Germany, larger numbers of people show up. For a long time I have concentrated on playing in Europe and in America. I'd come back to Ireland for a week, maybe play one gig and then I'd be off again for two months. I decided to begin my working life in Ireland with this album. Last weekend I did a gig in Portlaoise and it was the first ever time I did a gig in Portlaoise. I did a gig in Clonmel the night after it. It was the first ever time I did a gig in Clonmel too."

He continues. "Years ago when I started out there just wasn't the choice of venues. There are fantastic venues around Ireland now." While Luka has played for thousands of people at a time, his Irish tour will be much smaller. Intimate venues are very much what this songwriter is after and as such he will be following in the footsteps of the younger generation. Performers like Damien Rice, Mundy, Paddy Casey, Gabrielle Y Rodrigo, Susan Enan, Gemma Hayes and Mark Geary have made the small venues of Ireland their homes. Luka wants to do likewise, at least for this nationwide tour. Later in the year he'll be returning to the bigger arena of the Irish festival stage. Live performances will be the sole concern of Luka Bloom for the next twelve months. Despite the fact that he is almost constantly writing new material (he was strumming his guitar to a new tune just before I called) he will not be returning to the studio any time soon. "I want to keep making great records and discover great music. I can't really see myself hanging up the guitar."

Robert Cullen
www.sligoweekender.ie

Leeuwarder Courant - 19 April 2003

Luka Bloom records a live album in Carre

The Irish singer and guitarist Luka Bloom, on his own, has created a live album 'Amsterdam'. A special report of a special evening. Bloom sees himself as a folk musician, but one who does not have too much respect for tradition.

By Jacob Haagsma

Amsterdam - By the end of the seventies Luka Bloom, or rather Barry Moore, his real name, lived in Groningen for a while. "You know what they say about the sixties. That if you can remember them you haven't really lived them? My time in Groningen was a bit like that. I enjoyed making music with other Irishmen, great fun."

A few years ago he played in De Schaaf in Leeuwarden, and a then young, unknown duo opened for him. 'Twarres!' "Please say hello to them for me. They were very good and very nice." Not long after Twarres made number one. Bloom recognizes the irony of it, he never made it into the charts himself.

These days he is his own boss and has his own label, that position is further away than ever before. "That is not my world, and that's it. These days artists like me no longer have to worry about the charts, not even about record companies. I release my records myself, and as long as I sell enough to make a decent living, and to give good performances for nice people I'm a happy man."

"The music industry might be destroyed because of the internet, but my fans are not the kind who sit in their rooms all the time downloading MP3-files. I don't feel sorry for the record companies, because they treated their artists like shit for years."

Bloom works much more small scale now, and that only improves his contact with his audience. This is very much in the folk tradition, where the musician is one with his audience and shares his experiences with them.

"When I was making music in Groningen with these drunk Irishmen, it was pure folk. A small, organic world, which had nothing to do with the music industry that is folk. That is the feeling I have now. But I don't feel connected to the traditional folk scene, who kneels at the altar of old songs and will not change anything."

These days Bloom has a record to sell: 'Amsterdam', recorded live in the Carré Theatre in Amsterdam. It was not his intention to release a live album, but sometimes these things work out that way. "It seemed like a normal day, but when I had been on stage for ten minutes I knew this would be a special performance. By coincidence I wanted to record the show for myself, and when I heard the recording later on I could listen to myself for the first time with the feelings and understanding of someone in the audience. That is very special, and that made me realise that this had to be my next record."

Translated by Jolande Hibels

DeMorgen, Brussels - Tuesday April 30, 2003

The Kitchen Secrets of Luka Bloom

The Irish songwriter Luka Bloom is a welcome guest at any Belgian stage. His enchanting concerts are the main reason, but until now he always had refused propositions to record the magic of such a performance on a cd. "Listening to a live record is like staring through a keyhole to a party you weren't invited to," he said. Nevertheless Bloom gave in after thirteen years of constant requests. Amsterdam, recorded live at Carré, gives a good idea of what you may expect to experience in Brussels tonight.

Luka Bloom has lost all orientation. He just talked to Yasmine (a Flemish tv-presenter and singer) for an item in The Red Carpet (a celebrity spotting tv-show), and just a few minutes after our Irish Prince Charming thought he had recognised in her the woman of his life, he wakes up to the hard reality: Yasmine is not only in it for the girls, but also has an gorgeous girlfriend. "That's the first time I've let my heart be broken by a lesbian woman", he suffers, but a few seconds later his burst of laughter pierces through the very marrow, and will be remembered permanently by all there present.

"Sometimes you just have to listen to what everyone tells you", is his explanation for the awkward turnaround he made with Amsterdam. "In the last few years I've often met fans who loved my records, but added again and again that they liked my performances better. I for myself have always found the idea of making a live cd dull and boring. Meanwhile I've found out that my own objections weren't good enough to stick to. Moreover we did tape several shows in the past, just because every now and then we needed some extra tracks for b-sides or compilations. That way this record rather made itself. It wasn't made with a plan in mind. I just happened to listen to the taped show at Carré, and thought it was the first recording that perfectly summed up the atmosphere at a Luka Bloom concert. And there was a very practical argument as well: Dutchmen are noisy people by nature, but that time they were silent all through the quiet songs. We didn't need to cut out even a single cough."

Luka Bloom has lived in Amsterdam for a while, and confesses he still has a special bond with his former home town. "I don't smoke myself, but when you walk around in Amsterdam, you feel that everyone is smoking 'joints'. Everyone is nice and relaxed. You can take a stroll or go for a bike ride without risking any trouble. That's completely different in a busy, hasty city like New York, where I lived as well."

Amsterdam is not a representative compilation of his twelve years as a recording artist, according to Luka Bloom. "Too many important songs are missing for that. Tracks like 'The Man is Alive' and 'I Need Love' really are milestones in my career, so when I ever ought to make a 'greatest hits', those ones should be in it. This record is more like a snapshot, instead of a panoramic overview. One moment in time. And in a wider perspective it also shows what emotional road I've travelled. In fact, this cd gives me the feeling of meeting up with old friends I've lost out of sight for a long while."

The Irish singer, who is really called Barry Moore and who is the younger brother of folk legend Christy Moore, is still amazed that in these times of pre-fabricated pop idols, he can make a living out of his music. The days when major music companies worked their mighty pr-machines for him, are now behind him, but since Bloom self-publishes his records, he feels happier than before. "When I brought out Riverside in 1989, it seemed to cause a minor land slide: everyone loved it, and countries like Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia received me with open arms. The Acoustic Motorbike did even better: it had a hit song for one thing. But from there on, a lot of things went wrong. For two years I worked with all my heart and soul on Salty Heaven, but the record completely flunked. That was a bad thump to take. The record slowly drowned and Sony, the company with whom I had a contract at that time, didn't even bother to throw out a lifebuoy. I never forgave them that. So now I take care of my own business. And I must say it's liberating. I enjoy playing music more than ever. Even when I'm at home, no day passes without making music. All the time, neighbours drop by and before we know it we're jamming all afternoon. Music is not only my profession, it also remains my biggest passion. And you know, when a song works well around the kitchen table, it will work anywhere."

Although Bloom has been playing with the idea of making a record with a real group for years, and even to take that group on a tour, there are no signs that he is about to take that big step. "I'm already busy writing new songs, but it would be a real change to involve other musicians. I still like the plan, and perhaps one day it will become reality. Just this: such an evolution has to be a natural one. And I still consider it a great challenge to use very limited means - just a voice and a guitar - to make new sounds and songs. And believe me: I'm too stubborn to think I'm through with voice-and-guitar after just eight records."

Bart Steenhaut
Translated by Karl Catteeuw

KKunst.com - Internet Magazine - 16 May 2003

Luka Bloom

"Planxty and The Bothy Band were both 'my Beatles and my Rolling Stones'. Pop and Rock I usually found very boring."

Barry Moore Kevin 'Barry Moore' (23/05/55, Newbridge, Ireland), Christy Moore's younger brother, caught the music microbe at an early age. At first he appeared under his own name and mainly performed Irish folk songs. Initially young Barry found it difficult to find his own way because he remained in the shadow of his brother, who had grown into a true folk legend. An injury to his hand, new material, a long stay in the United States and a change of name to Luka Bloom lead to the release of "Riverside", an immediate hit. Since then he has released several brilliant cd's and has found a unique place in the music world.

You quit your studies in Russian and European Culture at Limerick University. Did you already know then that you wanted to be a musician, as you were already part of "Aes Triplex" with your brother Andy and Pat Kilbride?

Luka Bloom: Do you know Pat Kilbride? A brilliant musician and a great guy. But, yes I knew already in 1970, when I was 15 years old, that music was my vocation. I left secondary school and was the youngest of 6. My brother Christy was already touring the world as a singer-songwriter. My mother begged me to be the one to choose a respectable profession and to go to university, which I did out of love for her. But the music was on my mind the whole time and in the end got the upper hand.

- At first you played solo and then started a band. But you chose in 1978 to release a solo-album, "Treaty Stone", your debut album.

Luka Bloom: My life revolved around folk clubs. That was really the only place where I could perform. Sometimes I managed to get gigs in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. Still I worked mainly in Ireland. But I had a 'funny' feeling: I had the impression I did not belong there, even though I loved folk music. My favourite bands were Planxty and the Bothy Band.

- You also performed with these bands.

Luka Bloom: Usually I opened for them. They were both 'my Beatles and my Rolling Stones'. Personally I think Planxty is one of the best bands and they made some great recordings that I often listen to. But the Irish audiences usually preferred James Taylor, Doc Watson and Neil Young's work to mine. These are artists I also love and was influenced by.

- Was Bob Dylan's music also important in building your own identity and your solo career?

Luka Bloom: Not at all, and this is mainly because of his voice. I didn't become a big fan of Dylan's until two years ago when I saw him perform at a club in Dublin. His cd "Time Out Of Mind" is an album I cherish and which is one of my favourites. At the time I was inspired by English singer-songwriters like Nick Drake, John Renboum, Bert Jansch, Martin McCarty, Nic Jones... even though I never played in England.

- You played finger picking guitar, but then suddenly changed your style.

Luka Bloom: I got tendinitis and had to, even though initially it was incredibly hard to change my style. A human being can be a complex creature: I considered musicians who used a guitar pick to be inferior. I loved to play the guitar my own way and to conjure up nice melodies and reels, like the Frenchman Pierre Bensusan who is a master at this; to me this was the ultimate. After the problem with my hand I had to stop playing for two years and then had to learn 'flatpicking'. A whole new world opened up for me. I listened a lot to Ray Charles records, blues artists and also discovered U2 and the Waterboys. I also had to learn to sing and play the guitar standing. This has since become 'my trademark'.

- In 1983 you formed the post-punk/pop band "Red Square".

Luka Bloom: It was more of a pop band: the music sounded like "Aztec Camera" and had very little to do with the "Clash". (laughs)

- Why this change of course?

Luka Bloom: During the 70s and 80s you mainly heard older, adapted songs, while I wanted to create something new all the time. I thought rock and pop were boring, but when I heard U2 and the Waterboys I thought I could create something worthwhile in this style. My original idea, when I started my career, was to play in a band, which I tried for three years. But the many meetings, the debates, the arguments and financial difficulties keeping your head above water, made me go solo again. There should be a certain connection between the musicians themselves, you should be on the same wavelength. You should really have known each other from a very young age and have played together, like U2. This wasn't the case with Red Square; I auditioned and played with fine musicians, but they were a lot younger and there was no friendship.

- When I first met you in Brussels years ago, when you were still Barry Moore, you told me that you preferred playing solo.

Luka Bloom: As a solo artist you travel a lot and you meet a lot of people who later become friends. With a band this isn't the case: music lovers or even ordinary people suddenly have to deal with five or six musicians. Communication often is out of the question.

- When did you first go to the United States?

Luka Bloom: In 1986, still as Barry Moore, for a number of concerts. After Red Square I had to go and do something else entirely again. I wrote a lot of songs in a very short time, most of which appeared on "Riverside". I realized I had finally found "my way"! In 1987 I went back to the USA, but this time I considered it a new start, I knew I couldn't realize my dream in Ireland or in Europe and crossed the ocean with new songs and a new name.

- You played in Washington D.C. and Greenwich Village in New York.

Luka Bloom: That's right. I always had a plan in mind, no demos, not going round all the record companies, even though I did want to release my album with a major record company. I realized my live shows were my great strength. I convinced the owner of a small bar to offer me a contract on Wednesday nights, the least busy day in Greenwich Village. All the other bars didn't have many customers, but after six or seven weeks the one I played in was full. In a roundabout way I got in touch with Warner Records and I think I am one of the few artists who was offered a deal without delivering a demo, but because of my live show and because they liked my songs.

- "Riverside" was the result of this, but you had already recorded an album called "Luka Bloom" in Ireland, and many compositions from this can be found on your American debut cd.

Luka Bloom: : The record you mention was only on the market for about ten minutes. The label was completely illegal, which I didn't know, so a good album was dying in their basement. That is why I used some of the material of that album on my first cd.

- Is "Riverside" your impression of the city of New York?

Luka Bloom: I think so. You discover completely different philosophies of life and experiences. It was also the first time in my life I felt confident. I still consider this to be a brilliant period in my life.

- For the successor, "The Acoustic Motorbike", you returned to Ireland.

Luka Bloom: Yes and no. I lived both in New York and in Dublin, even though I did feel that my time in New York was coming to an end.

- Then "Turf" came out.

Luka Bloom: Many fans considered this my best album until the release of "Amsterdam", because the latter is a live recording and suits my personality better.

- I like "Salty Heaven" least. Only one song from this album, "Don't Be So Hard On Yourself" was included on "Amsterdam".

Luka Bloom: Does it sound 'over produced' to you?

- Yes, and that makes me feel this is not a real 'Luka Bloom cd'.

Luka Bloom: And still this album contains quite a few songs I love a lot, and which I sing regularly, like "Ciara", "Water Ballerina", "Holy Ground" and "Forgiveness", which I consider to be one of my best compositions. But you are right, in fact I should re-record this album, but make it more simple. It didn't turn out to be a real 'Luka Bloom cd'; I think you ended up with a 'Sony feeling' (laughs out loud). Still, it is strange that so many music lovers love "Salty Heaven".

After "Turf" I wanted to work independently, but then Sony offered to record "Salty Heaven" because they loved the songs. I must admit it was interesting and impressive to record this at the Abbey Road Studios, even though it received an overwhelming production, and this is where I went wrong: I might have been too impressed by all these famous people I was working with. I drifted too far away from my principle: to strive for simplicity. I did manage to do that on my latest studio album, "Between the Mountain and the Moon", also because I was working independently.

- "Keeper of the Flame" was criticized because it contains only covers. I didn't used to like covers myself, but I've changed my mind, on the condition that the musician succeeds in incorporating his own feelings and personality in the song. That worked very well.

Luka Bloom: I agree with you entirely, even though I would have been content at the release if people had liked three or four covers. Still, the cd got a better reception than I had expected, even though not everyone likes the whole album. The idea behind "Keeper of the Flame" was to pay tribute to all the people who wrote these beautiful songs.

- In 2000 you became an independent artist.

Luka Bloom: I used to dream of a record deal, now I don't (laughs). I do want to work with labels, like "Culture Records", but I want to keep control of the process and I want complete freedom in what I do and what I try to achieve.

Amsterdam - Is "Amsterdam" a "Greatest Hits-Live" cd?

Luka Bloom: Not at all. It is the registration of one show on one particular night. For a live cd usually several concerts are recorded and the best sounding songs are taken from those recordings. That isn't the case here.

- That is the way it is usually done, why not for "Amsterdam"?

Luka Bloom: I wanted to recreate the magical moment of a concert that was a hit from the first to the last note. It was a challenge to find the perfect balance between applause and sing-alongs. I think we have succeeded in that.

- You present your compositions in a different way all the time, also on this album. Sometimes you are a 'pure' singer-songwriter, sometimes there are folky influences, and at times you pour in a little rock and roll.

Luka Bloom: "Delirious" is a rock song (laughs). But what you say is true, I play and I sing in a different way all the time. Monotony can strike quickly and that leads to boredom with the audience and indifference with the artist concerned.

- The atmosphere and intensity on "Amsterdam" are great.

Luka Bloom: I had never played Carré before, but I knew the theatre's reputation, I felt privileged to be allowed to perform there. You know, it was a Monday night in February and you don't expect everything to turn out so perfect: the acoustics, the sound equipment, which made my singing and guitar sound so great, and, of course, the audience. Normally you build up a show. Here I plugged in my guitar and I felt the magic I mentioned. It was a wonderful night!

Interview by Guido Van Pevenage
Translated by Jolande Hibels


Ancienne Belgique, Brussels

Luka Bloom played to a sold out hall on Tuesday 29 April in the A.B. in Brussels. Conditions were great, wonderful acoustics, which is characteristic for this music center in the capital, a 'warm' sound and a dedicated audience and artist.

AB Luka Bloom made good use of this and played, as usual, a selection from his wide repertoire. As always he performed his compositions in his inimitable style and knew to put together a varied set and to create an intimate atmosphere. This talented and sympathetic Irishman has the gift to play the audience, with good songs and a sense of humour. He let it slip that he doesn't understand how singers can do their show sitting down. And it is true, Luka is standing all the time and he needs space: a singer-songwriter with rock and roll airs. Sometimes you even get the impression there are several guitar players up on stage, while at other times his singing and guitar playing sound soft and tender. Luka Bloom's work is by now so well-known that many audience members sang along with most songs. But the artist also surprised the audience and played some new songs. On a bus he read a short article about a woman who had lived with Picasso. Twenty minutes later the song "1986" (Gone To Pablo) was created, which hasn't changed since and which he played beautifully.

A surprise was the presence of an Algerian percussionist - Mohamed Bouhanna - for some songs.

After the first encore he sang the song "Don't Be Afraid Of the Light That Shines Within You", which is not on any cd, and which he normally only plays on 1 February - St. Brigid's Day in Ireland -, the day Nelson Mandela became president.

After another encore the man, exhausted, had to make use of the stool the percussionist had left behind. He then treated us to a beautiful new song with obvious Irish influences, called "The Healing Time".

The concert in the "Ancienne Belgique" is well worth a live cd "Brussels".

Live Review by Guido Van Pevenage
Translated by Jolande Hibels


Amsterdam by Luka Bloom
CD-Review by Guido Van Pevenage

Special thanks to Jolande Hibels for the translation of the interview and the reviews!

You can read the original interview & live review,
and cd review by Guido Van Pevenage at KKunst.com.
www.kkunst.com
Gone To Pablo - written 1986 after reading an article about the suicide of Pablo Picasso's last wife Jacqueline Roque (married from 1961 to 1973)

Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected State President of South Africa on 10 May 1994.

Marianne Williamson - Our Deepest Fear
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
from her book 'A Return to Love'

Irish Voice - 16 October 2003

Luka Bloom is ready to hit the road again

LOOK, LUKA: Fresh from an extended summer rest in Ireland, Luka Bloom is ready to hit the road again. He has been receiving treatment for an old tendonitis condition, according to his website.

"The U.S. tour was wonderful," he recalls on a website post. "I loved every gig, but the highlight for me happened in the first night in Chicago. A wonderful teacher named Jen presented me with a book of letters and drawings from her class, in gratitude for my song 'I am Not at War with Anyone'. I sometimes forget the power of songs, and this moment was a great reminder to keep at it." The singer will take a break from recording, though he does hint at a possible Christmas project in the works.

U.S. fans of Christy Moore's kid brother will have to wait a while to see him, as he is intent on performing in Ireland for the next few months. "I recently realized that in the last 10 years I've done more gigs in Australia than Ireland, so I've decided to redress the balance a little. Between now and next March I hope to perform in many venues throughout the island of Ireland. This will include a tour of the north of Ireland, and a tour of County Dublin in late October, as well as a scattering of gigs throughout the country. I won't be leaving Ireland until next March." So, plan on looking Luka up in a town near you if you are making a trip over. For a list of Irish gigs, log onto www.lukabloom.com.

www.irishabroad.com



© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page