Luka Bloom - on radio

WFUV - City Folk Sunday Morning

Interview with John Platt

Luka Bloom Beginning at 8:00 am Sunday May 28, John Platt talked up his interview in the 10:00 hour of City Folk Sunday Morning with Luka Bloom, describing him as "the warm-hearted Irishman". How nice. He introduced him as "the great Luka Bloom". How true.

John Platt mentioned to Luka that it was five years since he had interviewed him, and in the interim the live CD 'Amsterdam' was produced as well as 'Before Sleep Comes'. Luka said that previous to BSC he'd had a "big guitar sound" and was "pretty raucous", and then voice problems and tendonitis got in the way of all that. "I took Irish ballads and put them on my Spanish guitar." Like this: he then played 'As She Moved Through the Fair'. "I found it to be therapeutic and healing," he said.

John said, "A lot has happened in your life and in the world since you were last here…." To that, Luka replied, "Oh, boy!" He spoke about his song 'I Am Not at War With Anyone', and said he got a great reception to it in America, where people may have felt they didn't have a voice and wanted to express this sentiment. In Europe, he said, when he sings this song, "it's like preaching to the converted!"

John was very proud to have included Luka Bloom in this Memorial Day Weekend's programming featuring American folk heroes, and justified it by reiterating that Luka lived in the US for many years. Luka later reminded him it was only for 3 or 4 years, and now he is home, never having expected to build a house in the country only 4-5 miles from where he was born, and 4-5 miles from where his parents are buried.

John asked him to play 'Miracle Cure', and asked, "Was there someone or something that inspired that song?" Luka said no, but he was reading 'The Power of Now' by Eckhart Tolle, and there is a chapter on forgiveness that held a lot of meaning for him. Luka said forgiveness is not about becoming a holier or better person, but just being able to sleep at night, and that unforgiveness will eventually show up in the look on your face. Luka said, "It is painstaking stuff, but we need to do it." And also, "I don't want to be bitter and twisted - I want to maintain an innocence for myself so that I may bring it to my audience."

John said, "When you sing about nature, and spring and summer, as evidenced on this new CD, does that represent hope and innocence?" To this Luka replied, "When I sing about nature, I sing about myself." Then he introduced 'June' by saying, "I'm gonna sing you a song which is about the sexiest month in Ireland." Avery nice rendition, acoustically, especially the 'yeah-aye' part-oh so nice! John exclaimed, "A timely tune from Luka Bloom!" and then chuckled at his rhyme.

"How much of an influence did your older brother Christy Moore have on you?" Luka mentioned that Christy is ten years older than he. Luka replied that Christy bought him his first guitar, although Christy was probably well prompted to do so by their mother!

He said, "I was writing songs by the time I was 14 - really sad, pathetic love songs!" Luka said, he and Christy were influenced by different artists: Christy by the Clancy Brothers and the Dubliners and himself by Dylan and Donovan. He said, "Christy is as close as we've got to an Irish Woody Guthrie (whereas he himself would be the Irish Bob Marley). We don't tour or gig together. Whenever we try to sing together, it doesn't work - it's not an honest chemistry."

John talked about the name change to Luka Bloom. Luka was quick to point out that he didn't change his name. "Luka Bloom was a tool to overcome shyness and reveal myself in songs." When he came to America, "it was a new way to begin over."

He sang 'City of Chicago'. "I wrote it in 20 minutes, and I didn't realize its significance, but Christy did." Luka said it's now in the Irish curriculum in schools - an honor to him.

You could hear spitfire and vehemence in his voice when he spoke about watching media people like Lou Dobbs (CNN Anchorman) refer to human beings who were trying to find a better life in America, as "illegal aliens".

He spoke of immigration and emigration in Ireland, but said that for him, "home is an internal experience in the kind of life I lead. I am at home wherever I happen to be. You need to have some sense of comfort within your own skin." He feels fortunate in being able to write songs in his home in Ireland, and to travel the world to share them.

John said a very touching and reverent, "Thank you. Luka" and played the recording of 'No Matter Where You Go, There You Are'. Oh! But I was hoping to hear it live!

~Deborah Sandford

WFUV.ORG and 90.7 FM
Public Radio from Fordham University
in New York City

© Rena Bergholz - Luka Bloom Page