Luka Bloom > publications 2006
Luka Bloom - Articles, Interviews & Reviews
Luka Bloom
photo: Giorgia Bertazzi
Sunday afternoon music as Luka Bloom
comes to Campbell's Tavern

Galway Advertiser - March 9, 2006

Luka Bloom blows away Kilkenny audience
Kilkenny Advertiser - March 29, 2006

In Search of Innocence
The Connection Newspapers - March 30, 2006

'Innocence' in Bloom
Times Community Newspapers - April 05, 2006

Songster blooms in a new land
The Arizona Republic - April 25, 2006

Luka Bloom @ The Barns at Wolf Trap
April 5, 2006

Music Monthly - May 2006

Out of Proverbial Music Box,
Bloom Upbeat on Latest Road Tour

Irish American Post - Spring 2006

Luka Bloom's Bard Attitude
Guitar Player - October 2006

Luka's charity show at Riverbank
Kildare Nationalist - December 14, 2006

Galway Advertiser - Entertainment - Thursday 9 March 2005

Sunday afternoon music as Luka Bloom
comes to Campbell's Tavern


Luka Bloom undertook his first tour as a performer at the tender age of 14, touring English folk clubs alongside older brother Christy Moore. So began an illustrious career which has seen him play venues around the world. Last year Luka released one of his best albums in years with the deeply personal Innocence and he has continued to be a renaissance man. The coming weeks will see his album released in America but before that he will play an intimate Sunday afternoon gig at Campbell's Tavern, Cloughanover, on Sunday at 3.30pm.

Innocence was well received in Ireland and saw Luka claiming a high position in the Irish album charts. It contains many memorable songs such as the emigrant's lament 'City of Chicago', 'No Matter Where You Go, There You Are', the title track, and the inspirational 'Miracle Cure'. Luka says of the album and the album title: "The reason why I called it Innocence is because I'd just turned 50. There's two different types of innocence - there is the innocence of youth and there is what I would call the innocence of choice."

In explaining the term 'innocence of choice' Luka elaborates: "In life you meet people who are say 60 or 70 years old and the world has really kicked them around but they still seem to have a sense of joy in life and a hope for the future. As a songwriter in order for me to access the part of me that writes songs that 'innocence of choice' has to remain. Despite disappointments, despite let downs, and despite being hurt by life one has to choose to hold on to this essential ingredient of innocence."

Persons who choose a life in the arts and music must constantly deal with disappointments and knocks along the way. As a live performer Luka has struggled with tendonitis in his hands for the greater part of 20 years. In 2003 his years of battling with the affliction came to a head.

"I suffered very severe tendonitis in my right hand and within a few months I also developed nodules on my vocal chords," he tells me. "Having just built a new house in the country it was not what I needed at that moment with the bills flying in the door!"

Luka's song 'Miracle Cure' goes some way to describing the situation of his not being able to work as a musician for a long period. "Some very creative stuff came out of that time," he says. "The style of playing and singing that I'd been engaged in over the previous 30 years had been very full on. When I came to the point where I couldn't perform any more it forced me to discover a new way of performing and singing. I found myself completely scrapping my entire repertoire and literally starting from scratch again. I arrived at a place where I either had to change what I was doing or to stop completely, and I chose to change. I've found that my new quieter style of playing has been enormously satisfying to me."

Having regained his health and vitality Luka was reborn with his current album. Innocence is getting a great reaction in America and Bloom is due to undertake a seven week tour there soon. He admits he is in no immediate hurry to record a new album.

"I'm going to give this album the opportunity that it deserves," he says. "I feel a great connection to the songs on the album and I think there's something about them that was a long time coming. For me it's a sort of transitional album - it's very different from anything I've done before. It'll probably be about a year before I even think about recording another album. I'm just going to honour this one for a while yet."

Luka Bloom has played everywhere from Boston to Brisbane in his 36 year career and remains one of the most vibrant live performers in the music world. Throughout the ups and downs of his life on the road he has maintained his innocence and thrived upon the positive vibes it has given him.

Kevin Mcguire
© Galway Advertiser
www.galwayadvertiser.ie

Kilkenny Advertiser - Wednesday, 29 March 2006

Luka Bloom blows away Kilkenny audience

By Naoise O'Donovan Coogan

Luka Bloom fans were once again treated to an intimate gig in the back theatre in Cleeres on Thursday last. Fans old and new drank in his haunting melodies and inspiring lyrics at the packed out concert in the popular venue. Luka played some good old reliables such as 'to make you feel my love' and 'I am not at war with anyone.' He also played a selection from his new album 'Innocence' which was just released in America on Wednesday last. He told the riveted audience that he was very excited that one year after the album had been released in Ireland - it was finally released in the US.

Luka sang a number of beautiful tracks from 'Innocence' including 'Primavera', 'Gypsy Music', 'City of Chicago', 'Thank You For Bringing me here' and 'Innocence'.

All of his songs were accompanied by anecdotes about his inspiration for the words. Fans in Cleeres were mesmerised by his vocals and his expert guitar playing on the tiny stage. Luka would be well used to playing to huge crowds particularly in the US, however, the small, intimate venue of Cleeres back-room provided the perfect atmosphere to hear the legendary singer/songwriter at his best. Luka remembered the old days when he spent time in Kilkenny and Castlecomer, while climbing up the ranks of the music business as a young musician.

Having now tread the boards of stages all over the globe, 36 years of craft honing has given Luka Bloom a place on the music map. Like many Irish familes then and indeed today Luka comes from a family of singers and writers first going on tour with older brother, Christy Moore, in 1969. Turning 50 in 2005, Luka from Newbridge has brought his songs to clubs, theatres, fesitivals, bars, arenas and dives all over the world. From McGanns in Boston to The Tivoli in Brisbane to Red Hot Club in Newbridge. Its 1987, Barry Moore flew out to America and Luka Bloom came back. Singing his songs around the US, gigging with The Pogues, The Violent Femmes, The Dixie Chicks, Hothouse Flowers, The Cowboy Junkies. He signed with Warner Music in Los Angeles, and made 'Riverside', 'The Acoustic Motorbike', and 'Turf'.

© Kilkenny Advertiser
www.kilkennyadvertiser.ie

The Connection Newspapers - Mount Vernon Gazette - March 30, 2006

In Search of Innocence

Irish musician, Luka Bloom explains the inspiration
behind his 10th album release, 'Innocence'.


When Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom was 9 years old, he picked up the guitar for the first time and was shocked by a sense of deja-vu. The youngest of six children growing up in Newbridge County, Ireland, perhaps the familiarity with the guitar was a product of being the sibling of notable folk-musician Christy Moore, or maybe it stemmed from a spiritual connection to music that he would later discover and incorporate into his music. With his 10th album, 'Innocence', out on the shelves, Luka Bloom is beginning his first major U.S. tour in nearly a decade at the Barns at Wolf Trap on Wednesday, April 5.

Bloom took some time to discuss his life, music, and tour in a phone interview.

Tell me a little about your history with music:

Bloom: "I picked up the guitar when I was 9 years old and it was this incredible feeling of deja-vu. I can distinctly remember the moment I held my first guitar. By the time I was 12, I was writing songs. Whatever little bit of sadness or sorrow was within me, I would articulate it through song. By the time I was 15 I was singing my own songs in bars near where I lived. Itís all Iíve ever done. Iíve never earned one penny anywhere in my life from anything other than just writing songs. Iím 50 years old now so itís something to be happy about."

How do you believe your music has evolved over the years?

Bloom: "I kind of hope that the songs have improved. Writing songs is what Iím about and itís the most important thing that I do. You get to a certain age, hopefully, in your working life where you see what youíre good at. Iíve gone down some cul-de-sacs in my time and ultimately I came to realize over the last number of years that what Iím good at is what I do and thatís basically this troubadour life. Iíve lost any kind of ambition Iíve had to be a celebrity or being on MTV or daytime radio and Iíve come to enjoy a working life that is about writing the best songs I can write and being true to myself and my songs and enjoying my shows and enjoying the troubadour life. I love traveling to different parts of the world with my stories and my songs and just connecting very directly with people."

In your new album, 'Innocence', I noticed some religious undertones. Can you tell me about how that has influenced your writing?

Bloom: "I kind of differentiate very strongly between spiritual connotation and religious connotation. Especially if you come from Ireland, which has been for many, many years, and not so much any more, a pretty oppressive Roman Catholic environment which has caused a lot of harm for a lot of people by being over-involved in people's personal lives. I think for me to deny a sense of spiritual dimension to my life would be untrue to myself. I wouldnít play down the influence. I think that when you are in the business of writing songs, sometimes this stuff is a bit like prayer, itís a very meditative process. Itís difficult to explain from a work point of view how the spiritualness comes into play. I think from being a bit of a survivor, from having survived some pretty tough times in my younger days, I think that I experience a great sense of gratitude for just being able to act out my job because for a long number of years it didnít really look like it was going to happen for me and any bit of success came to me comparatively late in my working life. That alone sort of informs my attitude towards my work. Itís a sense of gratitude that I survived this long and a sense that maybe I havenít always been the one in control and I havenít always been the one who has been responsible for the good things that have happened to me and I want, through my work, to try and manifest some gratitude for that and if that manifests itself as being somewhat spiritual, than thatís perfectly OK with me."

Some of the songs off your new album mention global conflict such as the War in Iraq. How has that played into your writing?

Bloom: "I donít perceive myself as a political songwriter and Iím always a little bit weary of people who carry a political manifesto in one hand and a guitar in the other. Iím weary of the idea of sitting down in the morning and looking for a cause to write about and sometimes I think some people exploit that quite cynically to further their own careers. Something has to move me really deeply in a political way before I will react to it in the context of a song. ĎI Am Not at War,í was written two weeks before the war in Iraq began. I just had this awful feeling of despair and I just didnít believe it. I didnít believe what we were being told. I felt uncomfortable with myself and uncomfortable with my own country in Ireland because we accommodate the war efforts through our airports and channel ports. Iím a bit uncomfortable with that because we have a great tradition of being a neutral country that goes to troubled spots in the world where we can be respected by both sides of a conflict because of our non-participation. I think, for me personally, we in Ireland have crossed a line and I wanted to manifest my own personal sadness in that. Even if itís a political issue, itís not enough to rail against governments and foreign policy. I want to connect with it in a personal way and take a personal responsibility for what my beliefs are."

You incorporate folk instruments from different countries on this album. Do you see a universal theme in Folk music throughout the world?

Bloom: "There is just an incredible interconnectedness now in the world. It is an amazing interconnectedness now that, for me, is expanding more and more particularly as the European Union is expanding all the time. Iím hearing gypsy music from Eastern Europe coming into our country. I think that this is the excitement of the world in which we live. We are just opening up to that and itís really exciting."

Luka Bloom is coming to Wolf Trap to begin his first U.S. tour in nearly a decade on Wednesday, April 5 at 8 p.m. in promotion of his new album, 'Innocence'. Tickets for the show are $25 and are available by calling 1-877-WOLFTRAP or by visiting www.wolftrap.org.

Christopher M. Staten
© Connection Newspapers
www.connectionnewspapers.com

Times Community Newspapers - Entertainment - April 05, 2006

'Innocence' in Bloom

Irish-born musician Luka Bloom talks about his new release 'Innocence' with the nervous anticipation of a first-time father in a hospital waiting room.

"I have no idea who likes my stuff in the States anymore," he said. "I think they only play my music on nighttime radio, and the only people who hear me are truck drivers and lonely housewives who can't sleep."

Bloom conducted this interview by phone from his countryside home in Dublin. He was reacquainting himself with all things American by watching and strumming the guitar to music from his favorite western, "Big Country", the 1958 Oscar-winning classic starring Gregory Peck, Charlton Heston, Carol Baker and Jean Simmons.

"This album is creatively different from what I've done before," Bloom said. "My whole approach to the guitar and style of playing is different from when I was a one-man rock band playing venues in D.C. After playing that way for 10 to 15 years, I grew tired of it and felt a need for change and redirected my energies considerably. I still love the guitar, but I play it in a different way."

This tour marks the 20th anniversary of Bloom's first tour in America. Bloom said he was prompted to perform in the States years ago when a honeymooning Michael Jaworek of The Birchmere in Alexandria approached him at a venue in Ireland and asked him about playing in America. It was not long before Bloom headlined at Murphy's Irish Pub in Washington, D.C.

In those days, Bloom, known as Barry Moore, classified himself as a loud Irish rocker. Now, as evidenced on 'Innocence', mellow harmonies and thought-provoking lyrics drive the artist musically.

The CD is a departure for him in many ways even though certain elements are common to previous recordings. "It's challenging to create or generate a new sound when you're using the same instruments," Bloom said. "You have to avoid becoming predictable as an artist."

The writing process is long and arduous for Bloom since he is not the type to pen lyrics in concert stage dressing rooms or tour buses.

"The first step I took in preparing this CD ... I bought a piece of land in the country in Dublin and built a house," he said. "I always lived in small, cramped apartments and escaped the distractions of the city by leaving for the country to write. Now I've relocated to the country, and I have a place to create at random ... giving me more time to chew on songs and to be patient with the process. I wrote every song at my house and recorded them all with the musicians in my living room. I wanted this CD to reflect that quality and the man I am now."

Bloom said this album is a celebration of turning 50 and a remembrance of life's lessons.

"There's the innocence we're all born with ... and, as we get older, life kicks the crap out of us. This album is about what I would choose to hold onto if I let go of my wide-eyed innocence of the world."

'Innocence', Bloom's 10th studio release, explores the artist's heartfelt fascination with the lives and struggles of people worldwide and the ordinary things taken for granted.

'Primavera', 'First Light of Spring' and 'June' are soothing, easy-listening tracks that celebrate warm-weather months. 'City of Chicago' is dedicated to any Irishman who ever emigrated, and 'Peace on Earth', a tribute to the traumatized children of Beslan, Russia, is a subtle instrumental that seamlessly melds traditional Irish folk music with Spanish rhythms. Other tracks incorporate Bloom's growing appreciation for Middle Eastern and North African sounds as well as touches of Bob Dyan and Van Morrison.

The 8 p.m. performance tonight at The Barns at Wolftrap ends Bloom's five-year hiatus from touring in the United States.

"I would have returned sooner, but I had to cancel my entire visit and tour several years ago because after 9/11 it's been increasingly difficult to obtain a visa to enter the country. Last time, my visa came five or six days after my first show was scheduled to begin. Well, hopefully, my fans are excited about my new album and this tour. Let's hope absence makes the heart grow fonder."

Michael Wilson
© Times Community Newspapers
www.timescommunity.com

The Arizona Republic - April 25, 2006

Songster blooms in a new land

His brother is Christy Moore, one of Ireland's most beloved singers, rivaling Bono and Van Morrison. Yet Luka Bloom needed to change his name and leave his homeland to find musical success. Born Barry Moore in 1955 in County Kildare, Bloom struggled as a folk singer for 10 years before moving to Washington, D.C., in 1987. Taking his name from the central character of Suzanne Vega's hit Luka and the young protagonist of James Joyce's Ulysses (Leopold Bloom), he released the acclaimed Riverside in 1988.

With his ninth studio album, Innocence, in stores, Bloom makes his Arizona concert debut Wednesday at Glendale Community College. We spoke with him recently.

Question: How is the tour going?

Answer: It is great. We've been on the road for about five days, starting in Washington, D.C., and I'm in Pittsburgh now. This is my longest tour of the U.S. in 10 years, 30 shows - and I'm playing many places for the first time, including Glendale.

Q: Didn't you write in one song "I'd love to see Arizona"?

A: (Laughs) Yes. That song (I'm a Bogman) was a love song to the part of Ireland I grew up in - a boggy place that isn't much to look at. But it is my home, and I love it. Actually, I was in Phoenix once for two hours about 10 years ago - part of a whirlwind promotional tour of Borders Books.

Q: Yet you first found your success in the United States.

A: Yes. I had struggled for about 10 years in Ireland before I moved to the States 20 years ago. In a way, this tour is my thank-you to the United States.

Q: It seems surprising that you had difficulty finding success in Ireland considering your family tree.

A: I think that's why I couldn't find success over there. I needed a fresh start. But Ireland is my home, and I did return eventually.

Q: That reminds me of your immigration song, City of Chicago. It captures the search for success in a new land as well as the longing for home.

A: That is a great song, one I'm tremendously proud of. I wrote it 22 years ago, and my brother immediately learned it and recorded it. Now it's a standard. Every Irish band in the United States knows the song (laughs). It's actually part of the curriculum in Irish schools, when they study the famine and the Irish emigration to America.

(City of Chicago) is one of two immigration songs on my new CD. The other being 'No Matter Where You Go, There You Are', which takes the opposite view, telling of a Muslim man immigrating to Ireland. My country is currently dealing with immigration in the way America has for hundreds of years. I think it is one of the things that makes America great, how you welcome immigrants.

Q: Was your family musical when you were growing up?

A: Very much so - our mother played piano. I picked up a guitar at age 9 and started writing songs. I was performing at 14, and I've been doing it ever since.

Q: It is interesting that you became a songwriter, while your brother is better known as an interpreter of other people's songs.

A: I don't think he would object to that comparison. That is one of his talents, making other people's songs his own. He's such a big musical character. Where Christy was drawn to the Clancy Brothers, I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. He's Woody Guthrie, while I'm Bob Marley.

Q: That explains why your music sounds more like '70s singer-songwriters than Irish folk music.

A: I've never thought of myself as strictly an Irish folk singer. My music is for all people, not just on St. Paddy's Day. Even my name - people have told me it sounds like a Jewish woman's name.

Q: So what prompted you to record a covers album?

A: I wanted to find songs that would be a challenge to perform - so I ended up making the Keeper of the Flame album, doing songs by Nina Simone, U2, ABBA and Radiohead. It's not really new for me. I covered LL Cool J's I Need Love on my second Luka Bloom album. That was an effort to find a new audience - reaching out beyond the traditional folk-music audience.

It all goes back to not being just an Irish folk singer.

Michael Senft
© The Arizona Republic
www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/

Music Monthly - Baltimore/Washington - May 2006

Luka Bloom @ The Barns at Wolf Trap
April 5, 2006


Luka Bloom is one of the most talented and underappreciated singer/songwriters in music today. For almost 30 years Bloom has been playing music professionally, both as a solo artist and a member of various groups. And while this native of Newbridge in County Kildare, Ireland, has earned quite a following of dedicated fans over the years for his solo work, he has never gained the mainstream attention a man of his considerable abilities deserves. None of this mattered to the throng of fans that packed the charming confines of Vienna, VAís The Barns at Wolf Trap for the opening show of Bloomís first U.S. tour in years.

The evening started with an all-too-brief set from Irish newcomer Sabrina Dinan. This show marked her first American performance and she wowed the audience from the first few notes on. Dinan had a controlled and sultry voice that revealed a maturity that far exceeded her age, but she was also very likeable because she wasnít afraid to show her own vulnerability as a solo artist standing alone on the stage. I expect to hear a lot more from this performer in the years to come.

Following Dinanís brilliant opening set would be a tough undertaking for most artists, but Bloom was more than up to the task. He began his performance with the politically poignant 'I Am Not At War With Anyone', an extra track on the U.S. release of his new album, Innocence, and followed it with 'Open Up Your Arms', another political song influenced by the disarmament of Irelandís IRA in September of 2005. But this evening was not all about politics and the state of the world, but rather it was about the beautiful music Bloom has created throughout his career.

Blooms new album, Innocence, is a nice collection of the acoustic folk pop sound he has employed on most of his past albums. Songs like 'City of Chicago', 'Thank You for Bringing Me Here' and 'Primavera' sound just as good live as they do in the studio.

Though songs from Innocence were definitely the focus of the evening, Bloom delighted his fans with classic song after classic song pulled from his older albums. Though he has never had "hits" in the popular definition of the word, songs like 'Diamond Mountain', 'Exploring the Blue' and 'Sunny Sailor Boy' were welcomed like long lost friends by the audience. The evening was brought to a somber conclusion with Bloomís elegant take on the traditional folk ballad 'Black is the Colour'.

Bloom was in fine form throughout the course of his performance and the crowd was right there with him. If every gig on his American tour is as well received as the one at Wolf Trap, it should be a memorable trip through the states for Bloom.

Live Review by
Greg Yost
www.musicmonthly.com

Irish American Post - Vol. 6 Issue 4 - Spring 06

Out of Proverbial Music Box,
Bloom Upbeat on Latest Road Tour


By Mario Raspanti

Singer songwriter Luka Bloom returned to Milwaukee for the first time since performing at Irish Fest 2004, for an evening concert at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center (ICHC) on Tax Day, April 15. For those who were first introduced to him at the festival, this particular show promised a good night. Fans had a lot to look forward to, and hearing Bloomís voice fill the Hallamor, the main concert hall at the ICHC, was at the top of the list.

Bloom was perfectly at home milling around a kitchen at the ICHC a ew hours before he was scheduled to perform. Putting on a kettle of water for tea, he gladly chatted with a fellow who, like himself, was also from Co. Kildare.

"I donít operate according to a master plan. I like being free. I like being able to go where I want to go," he said later, sitting comfortably in a small room at the ICHC.

It is this propensity for exploration that has kept him busy the past two years, during which time he has put out two albums and performed around Europe and Australia. Despite a case of nodules, an irregular growth of thyroid tissue in his throat, and tendonitis in his right hand, he has managed to remain as active and productive as ever. If anything the two ailments forced him to change and explore his music more, something that has come to characterize his playing, perhaps more than anything else.

In the past, he has called billed an Irish folk singer, although his songwriting and singing donít belie that distinction. He embraces music of all kinds and forms. He has covered songs by Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, and LL Cool J.

"What is an Irish band or singer?" he asked. "I try and avoid the categorization thing. The music business uses categorization to put people in boxes. And I don't like being put in boxes. I'm just interested in song writing."

For his part, Bloom feels that his music is evolving all the time, although he doesnít attach much significance to that fact. He explained that finding a groove and staying with it would be boring. Rather, it is his job to change.

One of the two albums he put out within the last two years, a collection of lullabies entitled Before Sleep Comes, he wrote while struggling with nodules. All of the touring and traveling had worn him down. As a result, he didnít play music for nearly six months and was limited to singing softly. Instead of performing like he normally would have, he took a "time out to observe the world", something he said everyone should do now and then.

"It was basically all I could play. It was very gentle, soft, soothing music," he recalled.

Thankfully, the past two years have been less fraught with travel. He has surely toured and performed. Fortunately, in the process, he finally realized how important rest is for the body and the voice.

"The thing I learned from that, is that if youíre wrecking your body and your voice you should take a break," he said.

The other album, Innocence, released a year ago in Ireland, Europe and Australia, was not composed when his throat bothered him. Bloom played the arrangements for a couple of record companies in the United States earlier this year; they liked it; and released it in the U.S. a couple weeks ago. With that in mind, he felt this was the CD with which to do a good, solid tour. Subsequently, his round of shows, which began April 5 in Vienna, Va., represents his first major tour in 10 years. Between April 5 and May 17 he will perform for 24 different crowds across the Lower 48, including the one in Milwaukee.

According to Bloom, "This album is different for one simple reason. A very simple thing, I built a home in the country a few years ago and I live there now. For the first time, the songs are recorded where they were written. Sometimes recording in a studio can be very sterile, but that didnít happen this time."

Earlier in the evening, Bloom mentioned that he was enjoying this time around, since he hadnít undertaken such a long tour in a while. He lived in the States for more than 5 years, which he described as a very challenging place to work, before moving back to Ireland in 1992.

Local Celtic musician Jeff Ward laid the opening notes for the evening with a 45-minute set of his own, songs many in the audience happily knew. However, few in the audience knew that there would be a second opening act. On this night, it was Sabrina Dinan, a young Irish musician who had been touring with Bloom since February. In more recent years, he has made an effort to take along younger, aspiring musicians with him on the road.

While some may have been a little put off that they had to wait longer to see Bloom, Dinan quickly won over the crowd with her captivating command of the guitar. She only added to a great evening of music, leaving the stage to a rousing applause.

Bloom then happily took the spotlight to greet the eager crowd. With four amplifiers in front of him, his welcoming voice filled every corner of the ICHC, a former church. He played several tunes from Innocence, including "City of Chicago", a tune about Irish emigration. When it looked as though the evening was about to end, he obliged a wealthy smattering of applause with two encores. He sang the second minus his guitar and microphone, at the edge of the stage. Even without any amplification or microphone, he still projected his voice comfortably.

Bloom left a jubilant crowd behind at the ICHC, heading for shows on the West coast, before aiming for Arizona, Colorado, and Texas.

© Irish American Post
www.gaelicweb.com/irishampost/year2006/05may/

Guitar Player - October 2006

Luka Bloom's Bard Attitude

By Anil Prasad

Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom is best known for the raucous, in-your-face folk-punk energy of hit albums such as 1990ís Riverside and 1992ís The Acoustic Motorbike. But recent years have seen him pursue a considerably gentler and more introspective songwriting approach, best illustrated on tracks such as "I Am Not at War" and "First Light of Spring" on his new CD Innocence.

"When I first came to America 15 years ago, I was opening for people like the Pogues and Violent Femmes," says Bloom. "They had very partisan audiences that were completely disinterested in me. So I took on a very confrontational disposition, and developed a one-man punk-band style of songwriting and performance. I decided I was basically going to take their heads off. Later, I thought, ĎThese people have paid to see me as a headliner now, so itís okay to stretch out and have the songs connect in a more direct way.í"

Innocenceís songs of global unity and the simple pleasures of life feature sparse accompaniment - mostly in the form of delicate guitar rhythms played on a Fender CG24SCE acoustic-electric. Bloom wrote and recorded the entire album in the living room of his Irish countryside home, but, even in that remote setting, live performance was always at the top of his mind.

"I set up a stage monitor system at home, so I can hear my live sound as I'm putting songs together," he says. "I also really like being able to visualize performing new material for people as itís being created."

Prior to making Innocence, Bloom took a long break from writing - a practice which he believes is vital to recharging his muse.

"Iím wary of continuously writing, because I feel Iím going to end up always writing the same sorts of songs," he says. "Sometimes I don't write songs for months and months, and when I start again, it can be really scary, because I donít know if I have anything to say. I can get very angry, frustrated, and frightened, but I counteract those feelings by just plowing through. Eventually, something happens very simply and naturally, and I find my way back into the process."

Bloomís songwriting ideas typically emanate from improvised guitar riffs that suggest a vocal line.

"I tend to be quite prolific with rhythmic guitar ideas," he says. "Sometimes, Iíll play the guitar for hours and hours, and capture the results on a MiniDisc recorder. Iíll also vocalize to my guitar parts deliberately using incomprehensible gibberish to set up a groove or a feeling. Sometimes, it can take years before the music and lyrics materialize. Other times, thereís a mystical element happening, and a song can be done and dusted in 20 minutes. When I was younger, Iíd wait around for the mystical stuff to happen. However, I've learned that itís always more likely to occur if Iím already hard at work, and my songwriting muscles are in shape."

www.guitarplayer.com

Kildare Nationalist - Thursday, December 14, 2006

Luka's charity show at Riverbank

Top-ranking artist Luka Bloom will head a line-up of talented performers at a special concert at the Riverbank Arts Centre this Thursday night, 14 December, with the proceeds going to the
Beslan Childrenís Fund.

The massacre of the schoolchildren at Beslan was an event that shook the world but, as is the case with so many tragedies, the spotlight of the worldís media has moved on while those who suffered the consequences of the disaster continue to bear the burden.

Newbridge-born artist Luka Bloom (Barry Moore) became involved in fundraising for the Beslan families at the behest of Irishman Colin Goggins, who set up the Beslan fund and has given a huge amount of his personal time and energy to the cause. The aim of the concert and other fundraising events is to try and help the Beslan community, and especially the children (many of whom are still traumatised) to have a hopeful Christmas.

Local people are asked to support Luka and his follow performers, Ronan Hally, Jason Donoghue, Eithne Nì Chatháin, Sabrina Dinan, Conor Byrne, Pat Timmony and Aoife Kelly by attending the Riverbank concert and providing much needed funds for this tragedy-stricken Russian community.

The show starts at 8pm on Thursday evening, 14 December, and tickets at €20 can be booked by contacting the Riverbank on 045 448333.

www.kildare-nationalist.ie



© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page