The Irish Times - The Ticket - Friday, March 21, 2008
MusicDVDs - The latest releases reviewed
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LUKA BLOOM - The Man Is Alive
Union Station Productions
The naked honesty of Luka Bloom's double DVD and live CD is
breathtaking. Here's a man who's never been afraid to buck trends.
Fans have witnessed the continual evolution of the artist formerly
known as Barry Moore: from his woolly jumper folk days to Red
Square, and on to his incarnation as Luka Bloom. This is an
Aladdin's cave of frank interviews, insightful observations and
a gabháil full of intimate live performances (one in Bloom's
own front room). The Man Is Alive is a snapshot of someone
whose quest is far from over, but whose comfort in his own skin bears
testament to a road well travelled. And the music's not half-bad
either. Magnificent, in fact. www.themanisalive.com
FolkWorld - Issue 36 - 07/2008
FolkWorld CD Reviews
LUKA BLOOM - The Man Is Alive [DVDs + CD]
Label: Union Station
Irish singer-songwriter Barry Moore, the younger brother of Christy, brandname
Luka Bloom, penned a series of great songs and recorded a string of successful
albums in his lifetime. Thanks heaven, The Man Is Alive. Luka grew up in Newbridge
in County Kildare. He lives again in the locality, in a country house just five miles
from where it all started, and 25 years after he left Dublin for America. This DVD
features two 45 minutes gigs, an afternoon concert in Luka's living-room in Kildare
and a night event in a Dublin venue. Luka displays his two sides, the percussive
straight-in-your-face guitar sound and the nylon-strung, finger-picked guitar.
The music is on a CD too, and the DVD also features a Q&A with the audience
and a documentary. It shows an artist at the crossroads, he's fifty now, who holds
his breath and looks back. Luka has no more interest in songs that entertain and
have nothing to say (actually he never had), Luka wants to say something or
stay silent forever. His intentions are not to change the world, but to touch people
and transform individual lives. And yes, I believe, he's capable of anything.
One of the great artists of our time!
Hybrid Magazine - Reviews - August 2008
Luka Bloom – The Man Is Alive
Union Station Productions
I owe an awful lot in my life to Luka Bloom. Even though I've never
met the man, he's been a very large part of my life for the past 15
years or so… since the first time I heard him covering LL Cool J's
"I Need Love", in fact. The words and voice of the Irishman
have lulled me into sleep for more than 85% of the nights over the past
decade, each nuance of his recorded works indelibly etched into
my heart and mind. But nothing in his recorded catalog is as
transcendent as seeing him perform live, especially in a small,
intimate venue. And what, I ask, could be more intimate than
hearing Luka Bloom perform in his own living room?
The new DVD/CD collection The Man Is Alive starts off with
An Afternoon In Kildare. This set of music is intimate and inspiring,
Luka performing for a very small crowd in his own living room. He begins the
set with a wonderful version of "I Am Not At War With Anyone"
that is truly inspiring, and a powerful reading of "No Matter Where
You Go, There You Are". The small audience sings along wonderfully
on the chorus of "Sunny Sailor Boy", adding the depth you
can only get from the emotion of a live Luka show. While Luka plays
"Lighthouse" the audience is enraptured, lost in the pure
spiritual mysticism of the music. When Luka switches to the steel string
and blasts into "You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time"
the crowd is energized and sings along heartily, finding a beautiful
release from the introspective lull of the beginning of the set…
truly showing why his shows are so inspiring and honest.
The second DVD segment is called An Evening In Dublin, and
finds Luka playing in front of a rather appreciative small audience
in Dublin. He performs many tracks from his most recent record
Innocence, including the title track (which is simply brilliant) and
a stunning version of "City Of Chicago" with the audience
singing along wonderfully. "Here And Now" and "Don't
Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You" are notes of
absolute bliss in the set, transcending the man and creating the
mysticism for which Bloom has become so rightfully well-known.
A stunning version of "Exploring The Blue" leads beautifully
into the immensely powerful "Gone To Pablo" before
Luka wraps up the set with the now classic "The Man Is Alive"
teamed in medley with "Hill Of Allen".
The second DVD is a short film entitled My Name Is Luka.
This is a wonderful documentary-style film that shows just how
much Luka himself doesn't understand just why people want
to know about him rather than his music. But this film is a rare
and beautiful glimpse into the mind and heart of Luka Bloom,
sharing time with him in his home, hearing a few stories, following
his adventures, and seeing places that mean something to him.
These glimpses into the heart of the man are a wonderful insight
for fans, as well as for those who just need a short time of peace
in their lives. There is a rare quality in the music of Luka Bloom
that soothes the soul and brings peace, and this film makes it
patently obvious that that quality stems not from the music,
but from the wonderful and tender heart of the man who
writes the songs.
The accompanying CD titled The Man Is Alive is a nice
audio companion to the DVD set, bringing together performances
from both intimate shows into one beautiful set of music. While
the performances are varied, the continuity is amazing, really
showing the keen musical abilities possessed by Luka Bloom.
No matter where you record him, the music is amazing, intimate,
and powerful. There are a few scattered tracks not included
on the accompanying DVDs, including a tremendously moving
version of "Thank You For Bringing Me Here" and the
absolutely luminous "Love Is A Place I Dream Of".
This is a brilliant package, and one that will be a treasured addition
to anyone's music collection. For me, it breathes new life into
songs that have never grown old, and allows me to relive the
treasured memories I have of seeing Luka perform live myself.