LUKA BLOOM - Frúgalisto
Last year I watched Luka Bloom from backstage stage as he played
his new song, 'Australia' to a captivated audience in the town hall,
Thomastown. To watch from there was to glimpse both the audience
and the man responsible for their communal engagement in one
snapshot – to witness the ‘deal’.
On stage was a man pouring out his heart in a love song as profound
and direct as the classic 'The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face'. The
audience had never heard the song before. From the opening line,
‘Three years is a long long time to miss someone you love,’ to the
final word of the chorus, ‘Australia', the longing inflicted by the twin
obstacles of time and distance on a love profound was felt by everybody
in the crowd who had ever felt. If the flood waters which recently destroyed
this beautiful hall had risen at that moment, they would have found their
entry barred by the forcefield of communion between the truth teller
and those who know that it’s the truth.
I’m always happy if a collection of songs boasts even one great song
because a great song can lift a record in the same way that Luka
lifted the room that night. But Luka’s new album, Frúgalisto has
more ‘classic’ soul to bare and more love to share than the haunting
Warrior asks the fighter to ‘be easier on yourself’. It’s almost all
that ever needs to be said about war and the war monger marching
toward the inevitable death of his own soul.
The January Blues breezes along until it catches, and celebrates
‘the cold wind blowing through the night into the light of day.’
No Fear Here reaches out to the ‘wounded and abandoned little
Irish boys and girls’ with the words, ‘I want to build a home you
want to come back to.’
Oh Sahara maps a journey from loves of the past to the acceptance
that must come with age for peace to pervade the heart. ‘The love
that Sabina gave me was to help me be alone.’ It’s shudderingly beautiful.
Isabelle and Lowland Brothers take us from the untainted nature of
pre-war Flanders to the same landscape tainted with ‘blood and
mud the screaming...’. Lowland Brothers ends with the pained plea,
‘hold my hand and promise me this will never happen again.’
Luka’s is a life lived through words carried by melodies given life
by a frighteningly generous heart. His path is, as he says in
‘Oh Sahara’ the song of man.
A song written over forty years ago, Wave Up To The Shore,
is the perfect bookend for Frúgalisto. Here, a teenage Luka,
fearing the loss of all things earthly, is numbed by the reality
of the gravity of decay.
It’s like an acknowledgement, an end of movie ‘credit’ for a journey
in song that ultimately spawns acceptance of ‘what has been and
gone’ while offering continuing gratitude for what is - the Burren
landscape of his current home, to the delights of giving it a go
on a surfboard, the joys of cycling into town for a hot pot of coffee
The Irish Times - The Ticket - CD Reviews Rock/Pop - Thursday, April 7, 2016
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LUKA BLOOM: Frúgalisto - less is more, in this case a lot more
The challenge of retaining a vitality, of mining fresh seams, is
one that faces all artists with the gumption to cleave to the long
Luka Bloom is on intimate terms with that challenge, and how
he relishes every mile on Frúgalisto.
Less is more is the pervasive theme of this collection and in
many ways it marks the apotheosis of Bloom’s search for
All the big themes are here – consumerism, love, death,
war – shot through with a refreshing humour that leavens
the tone beautifully.
It’s in the production, too, that Frúgalisto shimmers,
with fittingly expansive and then bare-boned arrangements
buffering songs to come home to again and again.
Flute, fiddle, banjo, percussion and a magnificently
funereal trombone add heft and buoyancy to what is
one of Bloom’s finest collections.
Irish Examiner - Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Luka Bloom – FRUGALISTO
Luka Bloom’s new album was recorded at Lettercollum House in Timoleague.
In a way, Frugalisto, Luka Bloom’s latest album, has been 45 years
in the making.
Its closing track, ‘Wave Up To The Shore’, recorded by his brother
Christy Moore on his 1976 self-titled ‘Black Album’, was the first track
Bloom wrote, in 1971, that he decided "wasn’t shit".
It was inspired by his English teacher at Newbridge College, Pat Colgan,
and his now wife, Margaret, who had encouraged him to be creative and write.
"Yet every time I've recorded an album since I wrote it, I've attempted to record
it but it never seems to come together. As a result of that I worried I'd never
get to record it," says Bloom, declaring he is grateful to Christy for
recording it because otherwise it might have been forgotten forever.
"But it's been like a beacon of light in the background of my life for many,
many years. When I was in Lettercollum House it emerged again and I got
to sing it with my nephew, Gavin, who lives in Timoleague. I'm just so
happy that that song made it onto a record, for me it's a perfect ending
to the record."
Bloom says Gavin Moore helped reinvigorate the song - and that theme
of rejuvenation runs right through Frugalisto.
Bloom moved to Doolin, Co Clare, in 2012....
The Moy Hill Community Garden, near Lahinch, has inspired him,
as has its head honcho, former Irish surf champion, Fergal Smith......
Though Frugalisto was inspired by a new life in Clare, it came alive
in West Cork.
Recorded by John Fitzgerald ("a remarkable man") in
Lettercollum House in Timoleague, it features a host of local legends,
like the aforementioned Gavin Moore, Bill Shanley, Jimmy Higgins,
and Paula K O’Brien....
From the gorgeous tones of the lovelorn ‘Australia’, through
the ridiculous fun of ‘Give It a Go’ (which sees a middle-aged
man who may or may not be Bloom decide to pick up a surfboard
because “the waves are calling me”) and ‘Warrior’,
which one can read as a continuation of the title track or, as Bloom
confides, an antidote to mixed martial arts - "I just can't see
any way that any of this could be in any way good for any part
of society", Frugalisto is an affecting listen.
Review Extract from Article in the Irish Examiner
HotPress - Music Review/Album: 18 May 2016
Album review: LUKA BLOOM FRUGALISTO
(Big Sky Records)
Irish folk legend at the top of his game
It’s hard to believe that the one time Barry Moore has been recording and touring
for over 40 years now. But the still fresh-faced Luka Bloom clearly relishes the
process of making music. His latest album is the kind of record we’ve come to
expect from the Newbridge troubadour – thought-provoking acoustic songs sung
with heart and soul – only better. It’s exquisitely produced and arranged too,
with a small team of musicians, including Cork’s Bill Shanley.
Many of the songs are inspired by Bloom’s recent move to County Clare,
including the dark midwinter sentiments of ‘January Blues’ – a gentle,
keening ballad sung over a soft shuffle. ‘Give It A Go’ takes a wry look
at his attempts at surfing in late middle-age, while elsewhere, ‘Australia’
is a lovely homage to the country Bloom often describes as his second home.
Tragedy and innocence are the respective themes of ‘Lowland Brothers’
– inspired by the young Irishmen who fought in WW1 – and ‘Isabelle’,
about a young girl playing in the fields of Flanders oblivious to the horrors of war.
One of the most poignant and heartfelt songs is ‘Berkeley Lullaby’, about
the tragic deaths of six young Irish students in the Northern Californian town last year.
Elsewhere, a song Bloom wrote in 1972, ‘Wave Up To The Shore’
(once recorded by his brother, Christy Moore), is a further highlight
of this excellent collection. A must listen for fans of great Irish music – and
one for Irish radio to play...
Readings Carlton - Album Reviews - April 2016
LUKA BLOOM - FRUGALISTO
Frugalisto is a collection of wonderfully diverse new songs and
recordings from one of the most important singer songwriters
Ireland has produced.
Luka Bloom as always writes and performs about aspects of
life that affect us all and on Frugalisto takes us many places
we have not been before.