Kildare Post - January 11th, 2008
Sensational Night For Sensational Kids
Over €5,000 was raised at a charity concert for Sensational Kids
in the Riverbank last weekend.
Local talents Luka Bloom and Karl Vincent played to a packed
audience for the gig, which was organised to support local
charity Sensational Kids.
The charity is fundraising to open an occupational therapy and
sensory integration centre for children in Kildare.
After a moving presentation from Sensational Kids about their plans
to open an occupational therapy centre to help children with ordinary
everyday tasks that other children take for granted, Karl Vincent
took to the stage. With a his husky voice he enthralled the audience
with his own songs and also had them singing along and doing backing
to his own version of Video Killed The Radio Star.
He left the stage to a tremendous round of applause from the audience
who really enjoyed his performance.
Next up was Luka Bloom and what a show! From moving ballads to
hilarious songs about bog men he entertained the audience from start
to finish and left them shouting and stamping for more at the end.
Between songs he told stories and joked with the crowd.
They were even treated to a few new songs, including one that he had
just finished writing two days ago! Luka put on a tremendous show,
moving the audience to silence in parts with his moody ballads and
then racing back with hilarious upbeat songs that had the audience
singing and clapping along. It was a truly sensational night, enjoyed by all.
Most importantly the event raised €5,000 for Sensational Kids. Luka Bloom
said that he was delighted to help this deserving charity, and particularly
liked the name, Sensational Kids, as it focuses on a child’s ability rather
than disability. Sensational Kids would like to thank the Riverbank, Karl
Vincent, Luka Bloom and all who attended for their support. For more
information about Sensational Kids and upcoming events visit the charity’s
© Kildare Post
Leicester Mercury - 17 January 2008
Bloom Time As Luka Becomes Main Man
I saw Luka Bloom in the early 1990s, supporting punk folk band The Pogues.
And what a warm-up it turned out to be - raucous, in-your-face, and a spiky
appetiser for the main event, writes Steve Pumfrey.
It certainly helped get the impassioned Irishman noticed, as he now recalls:
"I was on ahead of The Pogues and Violent Femmes, and they had very
partisan audiences who were completely disinterested in me, so I developed
a one-man punk-band style of songwriting and performance.
I decided I was basically going to take their heads off."
Listening to Bloom now that he's firmly established as the main draw, it's
clear he has changed his approach to a considerably gentler and more
"I thought to myself that these people have paid to see me as a
headliner, so it's okay to stretch out and have the songs connect in a
more direct way."
Last year, he released arguably his most ambitious album to date, Tribe, a
shared project with County Clare musician Simon O'Reilly - although they
"I was sent an album of Simon's instrumental music and it was
lovely," he said.
"Over the next few months, Simon created music and sounds, and
posted them to me to my home in Kildare. Not once did we sit and play
together. I listened to Simon's sounds and created lyrics and vocal melodies
based on his music. It's a unique project because I play guitar on only
For once in my working life, I got to simply be a singer and I really loved
I'm now working on a new record, thinking about gigs, and wondering who
will be in the White House ... there's so much fun to be had."
Luka Bloom is at Loughborough Town Hall on April 19, tickets at
£15 and £13 are available from the box office on 01509 231914 or:
The Scotsman - 2 February 2008
LUKA BLOOM / CARA DILLON ****
Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow
THE Irish singer-songwriter Luka Bloom has never been one for platitudes,
so when he declared, "I'm so thrilled to be here," near the start of his Celtic
Connections set, there was no doubting his sincerity. Surveying a sold-out
Old Fruitmarket must have been all the more satisfying given that Bloom,
having built up his loyal fan base gradually since the late 1980s, faced
enforced retirement a few years back, when tendonitis rendered him
unable to play guitar. Having recovered, and refashioned his technique
to avoid further damage, he comes across as a man more given to
counting his blessings than ever, further enriching his signature traits
of open-hearted optimism and wide-eyed wonderment.
His set here ranged across his back catalogue, all the way from City
of Chicago, written in 1984 and made famous by his brother, Christy
Moore, to the title track of his latest album Tribe, an eloquent plea
for human and spiritual connection. Other standouts included the
valedictory yet upbeat See You Soon and the vivid narrative ballad
No Matter Where You Go, a song about contemporary immigrants
to Ireland, alongside favourites like the dreamy, seductive Into the
Blue - (Exploring The Blue) - and an irresistibly exultant You
Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time.
Opening act Cara Dillon also delighted the crowd with her bewitchingly
honeyed voice, giving rein to the extra heft and force it's acquired
in recent years, as well as contributing on fiddle and whistle to an
expanded band line-up, which featured some fine uilleann piping
from James O'Grady.
© The Scotsman
HotPress - 3 March 2008
Luka Bloom releases new live album and films
Luka Bloom has released a new live album, documentary and concert film package.
The well nifty 3-disc set comprises a 16-track concert album (This Man Is Alive),
the My Name Is Luka documentary and two very different concert films - An Afternoon
In Kildare and An Evening In Dublin.
The 35-track monster includes such seasoned favourites as 'I Am Not At War With Anyone',
'Sunny Sailor Boy', 'Lebanon', 'Hill Of Allen', 'Gone To Pablo' and 'Perfect Groove'.
© HotPress - The Hot Press Newsdesk
Rock'n'Reel XTRA - 17 March 2008
David Burke discovers there is more to a name than first appears
What's in a name? Quite a lot actually, if the trajectory of Luka Bloom's career
is an indicator. The artist formerly known as Barry Moore, younger sibling of yer
man Christy, birthed his new incarnation (derived from the Suzanne Vega song
'Luka' and Leopold Bloom from James Joyce's Ulysses) in 1987 as part of a
calculated move to establish himself in America.
"I'd made three albums in Ireland. Between the three of them they probably
sold 5,000 copies," he recalls. "I was playing to six people in a café in
Dublin on a Monday night, eight people in a café on a Tuesday night.
I had a son, I was really struggling. I was around 30 years old, there
was nothing happening. At this time I was coming into a pretty rich vein
of writing. I just knew these songs were good. I thought that I'd finally
arrived at a point where I'd found my musical voice but I couldn't see
any future. I felt completely trapped here in Ireland and nobody wanted
A leading promoter from Washington saw one of those low key gigs
and, suitably impressed, invited Moore to the States. It was a pivotal
moment. "I just decided, I'm going to America for two years, I'm literally
going to start from scratch again, I'm going to forget that I've made my
three albums, I'm just going to be a complete beginner. My confidence
was kind of shattered and I felt I needed a big shot in the arm to give
myself the impetus of going to America as a complete beginner.
"A change of name has done something for Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Neil
Young, Bono, Sting, The Edge - a legion of people who've adopted
professional pseudonyms to identify their work. I got this notion that I
would love to create a moniker for myself that would cause people in
America to simply focus on my work. I kind of see Luka Bloom as being
the name of my songs more than anything to do with me personally.
I say to people that Barry Moore is who I am and Luka Bloom is what
Bloom is adamant that relinquishing his given surname was a professional
decision and had nothing to do with "the simplistic view" that he
wanted to escape the giant shadow cast by the big brother. "I've never
accepted that analysis. I always give people the right to like or embrace,
or not embrace, whatever it is I do. It's also very unfair on Christy for
that to be suggested. I often say to people that Christy grew up on
Woody Guthrie and I grew up on Bob Marley. We rarely play together
because we find it so difficult. It feels awkward musically. We're just
Anyway, when Luka Bloom left Barry Moore behind at home in Kildare
and settled across the Atlantic, the transformation was remarkable.
"Whatever bit of confidence I needed just came into me and I
came out of myself. I lost a lot of the self-consciousness that
sometimes can go with being a singer/songwriter, and it just kind of
worked for me. Literally within 18 months I think I was the first Irish
singer to be signed to Warner Bros in America since Van Morrison in
the early 60s. Coming from where I'd come from, it was an enormous
achievement. It was mind blowing, the pace of the recovery and then
the pace of the recognition, and the sense of affirmation. I had to go
away in order to find an audience."
That audience included none other than Lou Reed, whose then wife
Sylvia introduced him to Bloom's music. Obviously a woman of impeccable
taste. "There was a particular moment where Lou's and my path crossed.
There was a period in the early nineties when I was doing a one-man
mad punky kind of thing. It resulted in my being able to do very large
festivals in Europe. I was on the bill with Lou at a festival in Belgium.
I met him and we hung out a bit. I didn't see him until two years later,
about six months after my mother died. I was grieving at home in Ireland
and things weren't great. I wasn't touring, I wasn't doing anything. I got
a phone call from Alan Pepper of The Bottom Line (in New York) to say
that Lou had been invited to host a songwriters' evening there to celebrate
the venue's 20th birthday. He was invited to name the other three names
he wanted on the bill with him, and he named David Byrne, Roseanne
Cash and Luka Bloom. I just nearly fucking collapsed! I couldn't believe it.
I just jumped on the plane and went over. We did four shows in two nights.
It was the shot in the arm I needed. I'd gathered a lot of momentum prior
to that, then I went into a dip for about a year. That got me back on the
Since then, Bloom has consolidated his fan base in the States, as well as Australia and central Europe, through the industry of touring inspirational albums such as Between The Mountain And The Moon, Before Sleep Comes and Innocence. His latest release is the beautifully ambient Tribe, a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist Simon O'Reilly. Bloom only plays guitar on two songs, though he wrote all the lyrics and vocal lines.
"Historically, I've always had a bit of an affection for people who work in recording in an odd sort of a way. I'm talking about people like Brian Eno and Daniel Lanois, the way they do these productions where there's no heavy duty guitar solos, there's no heavy drum solos - there's nothing kind of rockist about their recordings, yet there's a great atmosphere. When I heard Simon's Tidelines, an album of instrumental compositions, I thought, wow, maybe this is the guy that I've been waiting for to come along. I've always been into Everything But The Girl and early Massive Attack kind of stuff – a little bit ethereal, but almost structural. It's almost like scaffolding for songs as opposed to people kind of showing off. "I also thought, as someone who's been running around the world devoting myself to being the kind of generic troubadour, it would be a challenge to come out of my comfort zone and work with someone in this way, where I took no responsibility for the music but would take the music from them and hopefully create songs that people would want to hear.
"When I eventually got to meet with Simon and we decided to go ahead with the project, we sat down and had one two-hour conversation in which I pretty much outlined what I didn't want. I didn't want any big bold musical statements, I wanted it to work as a soundscape theory. We never actually sat in the same room and played. We have to credit the Irish postal service, because he basically posted me CDs of soundscapes. It was very liberating for me not to have to worry about chords or rhythms. "We gave each other complete and total licence to express what we wanted to express. Obviously he critiqued what I gave him. There were certain songs that I presented that he just didn't feel comfortable with or didn't like, I'd go back to the drawing board, and it was the same for him."
On the title track Bloom suggests that perhaps rather than dividing ourselves into national tribes, we should acknowledge that our tribe is everywhere on the planet. It perfectly encapsulates what he describes as his childlike perspective. "If I have nationalism in me, it's of a very gentle nature. I think the whole notion of flags and national identity is great fun at a cultural and sporting level, but beyond that it's been proven in history that it's very dangerous. In the context of the world and its finite resources, we're increasingly going to be called upon to question this notion of separate tribes."
Not that Bloom he would want to be labelled an internationalist. "God, it sounds awful pretentious, doesn't it? I'm just a lad out singing me songs. Sometimes I feel incredibly at home if I'm sitting drinking a cup of tea in a café in Amsterdam with a friend who happens to be Dutch. It's one of the privileges of the musical life that I get to travel the world and hang out with people from different walks of life and from different countries. The more I do that, the less hung up I am about the incredible uniqueness of being Irish. "My family and my friends are here, my home is here. I love the island of Ireland, I love the people on it and I love living here. I love my friends, I love the nature in Ireland and the wildness of Ireland. I just find that as I get older, I begin increasingly to feel that my tribe is quite simply humanity. If we can take that on board more, surely it's going to simplify the approach we take in dealing with the resources of our planet? That's pretty much where I'm going from with this - softening the whole national thing. There's so much selfishness in the way people, as nations, approach the world. We should embrace the idea that we belong to one tribe, which is called humanity, and look for the best that we can do for humanity without destroying the planet."
Interview by DAVID BURKE
Irish News UK - News from the Irish Community in Britain - 22 March 2008
Unearthing Bloom’s roots
After a personal and musical epiphany in 1981, Kildare musician Kevin Barry Moore
relocated to the United States, reinvented himself as Luka Bloom and saw his career
soar. Tom Fitzpatrick speaks to the younger brother of Christy Moore who
kicked off his British tour in London at the St. Patrick’s Festival.
LUKA BLOOM is anxious to get a point across to people in Britain.
And one of the reasons he’s agreed to do this interview is because he has made a
He has decided that he needs to do more for his fans on this side of the Atlantic -
something he admits he has neglected over the years.
He explained: "Because I was living in New York when I finally created an audience, most
of my work at the time was in America.
I was following the audience. Going wherever I was told to go. I never really worked
to create a base in Britain.
Two years ago I began to realise it was ridiculous, living in Ireland and always working
in America, Australia and mainland Europe.
For the last 20 years I’ve been working solidly in all these places but now I’m doing
more gigs in the next year in England and Scotland than I have in the last 20 years.
It’s something that’s really important to me. I really want to try and give people in this
part of the world the opportunity to hear my songs because it’s close to my home and
close to my heart."
Born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare as Kevin Barry Moore, the Irishman’s musical roots
had been established long before he became Luka Bloom, having grown up in a
musical family home in Ireland.
He said: "My mother had aspirations for a musical career but never pursued it.
She really encouraged us and from a very early age we were all given a great
education in the world of music and song.
My first ever public performance was at the age of five when I sang a song called
My Singing Bird for a Christmas Concert at a cinema in Newbridge.
I don't remember if it was a competition but I remember walking out with a Christmas
pudding and it was the first experience I had of people rewarding me for my
Bloom, now 52, remembers learning the guitar by playing elder brother Christy Moore’s
instruments - that is until Christy brought the youngster his own Gibson Hummingbird
guitar from England.
"To me it was unbelievable to have this guitar. Almost immediately I started writing
songs at the age of 12 or 13," Bloom recalls.
"I started writing lots of pathetic little love songs, which I'm kind of still doing
So music came naturally to the young Luka Bloom - "I knew I had a deep connection
with the guitar straight away" - and the teenager spent a few weeks in Britain
with his brother Christy, playing to strangers for the first time.
After that, Bloom admits, some problems set in.
He said: "What happened to me was I showed a lot of potential between the
ages of 12 and 16 and then for about 10 years I proceeded to just f**k it all up.
Nothing was happening. I mean I was making records that weren’t great, I wasn't
writing good songs and I was just feeling unhappy.
Some people find themselves in a state of emotional turmoil and they manage
to turn it into really great songs and short, fantastic careers.
None of that happened to me."
In 1981 Bloom came to the realisation that he had to stop drinking and began to
listen to punk music, instead of the folk scene in which he had previously been
Bloom decided that by staying at home he would never make an audience for himself.
He moved to America and changed his name to Luka Bloom.
He said: "I wanted a name that was completely pretentious and easy to remember.
What I say to people is: 'Barry Moore is who I am and Luka Bloom is what I do.'"
On arriving in America, Bloom began to introduce himself in clubs across Washington
DC and for the first time, he felt, people were reacting solely to his songs as opposed
to his history or family.
He said: "A bit of a buzz began to generate about my gigs and people were beginning
to come and see me from record companies and then I did a tour with The Pogues in ’88,
immediately followed by a tour with The Hothouse Flowers a couple of months later."
Bloom remains philosophical about the period of success he enjoyed though, having
experienced the lows of a few years previously.
He said: "When I went to New York in ’86 I was sleeping on a friend’s sofa, I had no
money and it was really scary. It was an act of desperation, it really was.
I never wanted to leave Ireland but it was just never going to happen for me there.
I went from experiencing nothing but rejection to experiencing nothing but enthusiasm.
When I was writing songs in a room full of suitcases in boarding-school, Newbridge,
Co. Kildare, I always imagined singing my songs in San Francisco and it took me 20
years but eventually it happened."
Bloom's cover of LL Cool J's I Need Love represents everything that was exciting
about Bloom's life transformation in America.
And the rap song that Bloom made his own clearly holds a special place in the
He said: "I've never written a song that was as difficult to write as it was learning
I Need Love because it was something that could have been a complete disaster.
The only way to do it was to find some way to make it my own and to make it sound Irish.
It took people by surprise but the song embodied a really exciting time in my life.
It helped to shatter the image of a singer-songwriter being a dull, self-obsessed,
angst-ridden, lonely, sad b*stard and that’s something I've always tried to do."
Bloom recalls an intimate time he shared last year with fellow Irish musician Christie
Hennessy, who passed away in December, as a recent highlight in his life.
He said: "2007 was the first time I really met Christie Hennessy and within
10 minutes of meeting him he told me he was dying.
A month later his manager told me about the project Christie was trying to complete
and he wanted the first recording to be with me and my brother Christy, so the three
of us got together and made this song.
Meeting Christie Hennessy in the way that I did was one of the most profound
experiences of my life.
Becoming a friend of his and feeling like a brother of his in the last weeks of his
life was just an enormous privilege."
Bloom's British tour starts in Fareham, Hampshire on Sunday, March 23.
Leinster Leader - Thursday, 23 October 2008
Back in Bloom
In the midst of a week of tax returns and all round bad news, on Wednesday
last, my life took a somewhat surreal turn when the chance to interview Luka
Bloom about his upcoming tour and album launch arose. I have been a huge fan
from the very first time I heard him live one evening as he supported his
older brother Christy Moore in the Keadeen in Newbridge some years ago. I
can remember leaving that gig, not really aware of much that happened after
Bloom left the stage, tentatively following him to Vicar Street in the
following months, almost afraid that my new discovery had been but a dream.
So a couple of years, gigs and albums later, Sunday evening found me heading
off, notebook on the passenger seat, new album ringing in my ears and nerves
plucking at my insides, out along the Rathangan road in an attempt to find
his house. Reaching it, was like stumbling upon Brigadoon in that I'm not
really so sure I could ever find it again, so snugly nested into the bog
does it fit. Even as I trudled down the rough lane, I couldn't be certain I
was at the correct destination, until I stole a quick look in the car that
was parked outside, and there it was, the famous bike. (The previous week,
in a last minute attempt to avoid the traffic, he abondoned his car in a
stranger's garden and cycled the last few miles to a Newstalk Radio
interview with Tom Dunne at the Ploughing Championship).
From the minute he threw open the door, my nerves faded. It was that kind of
house. A huge tardis-like stove cast heat across the L-shaped room and the
last bars of evening sun stole across the bog and through the floor to
ceiling windows. A tangle of guitars and mid-stands in one corner, gave an
almost 'Abbey Road' atmosphere. Obligatory cup of tea in hand, and the chat
started to flow.
His enthusiasm for the new album Eleven Songs is infectious. The name, it
should be said, was deliberately chosen. Luka is a self confessed champion
of 'the album' and despite it being the era of the i-pod shuffle, he is a
fan of taking forty five minutes out and listening to an album it its
entirety, from start to finish, all eleven songs, just as it was intended.
(Having spent all Sunday afternoon doing exactly that, I couldn't help but
agree with him.)
I mentioned that I found it to be a different sound to those previous,
almost a breakaway from the 'one man and his guitar' than I was used to, and
he agreed. He felt that these songs were crying out for a bigger sound, that
they had to be made big and to do this he had enlisted the help of Liam
O'Maonlai on piano (a 'genius with natural ability') and members of the
Gardiner Street Gospel Choir, amongst many others. He found the entire
creation process to be an unbelieveably enjoyable experience, which he also
attributes to his producer David Odlum (ex-Kila and ex-The Frames). The
album was recorded in Grouse Lodge, a country hideaway in County Westmeath,
where Snow Petrol have also recently recorded their latest album.
Coincidentally, Gary Lightbody of Snow Patrol recently said in an interview
that '98% of musicians aren't looking for fame, they just want an
audience' - a sentiment that lies very close to Blooms heart. Without the
backing of a huge record label (Eleven Songs is released under Big Sky
Records, Blooms own record label) he relies hugely on word of mouth for his
promotion, a publicity machine that has yet to let him down. Bloom is a
master of a concert stage and has spent the last ten years garnering a huge
fan base across Northern Europe and Australia. His incredibly gifted
electro-acoustic guitar playing guarantees an impassioned live performance,
(although the mischievous glint in his eye does much to guarantee a certain
percentage of ladies in his audience).
I had to ask him about his name, not so much about his origin, but I had
often wondered had he ever worried that the move from Barry Moore to Luka
Bloom would alienate him from his Irish fans, from the type of person who
would think he was getting 'notions'. He replied that after fifteen years of
struggling, it was a chance he was more than willing to take, At that time
plenty of singers had stage names - Bono, The Edge, Sting - it just felt
like the right thing to do. It afforded him the chance for a fresh start,
the latter half of the eighties in America (where the transformation took
place) being all about freshness and newness. The departure from Barry Moore
turned out to be a chance worth taking, and he has never looked back. In
taking on the mask Luka Bloom, it became possible for him to express himself
less self-consciously. As importantly, it granted him a separation between
professional and private lives, a division that he values to this day.
We went on to chat a bit more about the songs on the album. It's difficult
to pick a favourite although one in particular stands out for its power and
agresssiveness. Fire can only be described as an impossionate rant. Luka
confesses to being a bit of a conspiracy theorist when it comes to modern
technology. He feels we live in a world where people are obsessed with
gadgetry and he finds it sad when he sees a young person on a bus or train,
listening to punk music on his headphones. 'Punk music is essentially
radical, powerful music, designed to channel young people's anger, not
designed to be listened to alone, where the anger can only be directed
inwards therefore it's a way of pacifying people'. Likewise, where the
anti-war protests of old were staged in huge parks and public venues, now
they are conducted over the internet - which again, is silent.
But the songs aside, there is a photograph in the inlay card of the CD
which to me, says it all. It is of Luka, head thrown back, arm flung back,
plectrum poised between thumb and finger, all bathed in a red stage light.
For me, it's why no one should miss his upcoming concert in Vicar Street on
Saturday 1st November. Give the tax deadline and the recession a miss for
one evening. I can guarantee you too will be bathed in that same inner
red-glow as you wend your way home that evening. I know I will be.
© Leinster Leader