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Luka Bloom - Artikel, Interviews & Live Reviews
Luka Bloom

Sensational Night For Sensational Kids
Kildare Post - 11 January 2008

Bloom Time As Luka Becomes Main Man
Leicester Mercury - 17 January 2008

Celtic Connections
Old Fruitmarket, Glasgow

The Scotsman - 2 February 2008

Luka Bloom releases new live album and films
HotPress - 3 March 2008

Unearthing Bloom's roots
Irish News UK - 22 March 2008

Back in Bloom
Leinster Leader - 23 October 2008

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 childís 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 charityís website

© 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 introspective style.

"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 rarely met.

"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 two tracks. For once in my working life, I got to simply be a singer and I really loved it.

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

Celtic Connections

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

Luka Bloom
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 cafť in Dublin on a Monday night, eight people in a cafť 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 to know."

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 I do."

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 so different."

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 road again."

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 Ė 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 cafť 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 Bloomís 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. Patrickís Festival.

LUKA BLOOM is anxious to get a point across to people in Britain.

And one of the reasons heís agreed to do this interview is because he has made a commitment. 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 Iíve been working solidly in all these places but now Iím doing more gigs in the next year in England and Scotland than I have in the last 20 years. Itís something thatís 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 itís close to my home and close to my heart."

Born in Newbridge, Co. Kildare as Kevin Barry Moore, the Irishmanís 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 singing."

Bloom, now 52, remembers learning the guitar by playing elder brother Christy Mooreís 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 now."

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 werenít 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 engrossed. 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 í88, 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 í86 I was sleeping on a friendís 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 musician's repertoire.

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 thatís 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

© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page