Luka Bloom Biography
“I love it when different people
Come and gather around
They dip into a different world
There’s a singer in town
I love to see the bodies swaying
Hips shifting along
Together we’ll find the rhythm
Get into the song”
From the album ‘Between the Mountain and the Moon’
With a poet’s heart and a rockster’s soul, Luka Bloom is regarded as one of Ireland’s best-respected contemporary folk artists, having produced 20 albums since the 1970s, Bloom continues to push the boundaries of what his music can do, and the 2012/13 Heartman Tour proves he is still making provocative, poetic music that delves deep into the intricacies of the human soul and pulls out the nuggets and puts them in a song.
Like many who write songs, Luka’s orchestra of choice is the guitar. What makes his career a little different is his constant search for a new voice within the guitar. The guitar is the landscape on which the song is created, and he is forever probing that landscape for new inspiration. No effects, no gadgets. Time, effort and a whole lot of love bring forth new voicings within the instrument, and bit by bit, the songs come to life. And eventually they fly, bringing Luka with them to be heard in Byron Bay, San Francisco, Hamburg, or even Doolin.
“Trawling for the lost chord
A slave to curiosity
Digging deep into the ordinary
Hoping to harvest
Luka Bloom writes and performs songs and has done for four decades now. For a man of limitless passion for music, change, tradition and its lessons, he says of it all that “It’s all about the Song”.
That summer of love in 1969 was the first time Luka Bloom (known then by his birth name Barry Moore) set to the stage to support his older brother and renowned Irish singer Christy Moore and since then he has been bringing his unique, passionate sound to indigenous and international audiences on stages from the United States to Australia, and through every venue imaginable in his native Ireland (in turf bogs, record stores, up on a bike and on protest sites) Belgium, Germany, Switzerland and Holland (to name a few of the countries with avid fans) playing atop mountains, cycling onto stage and even supporting His Holiness The Dalai Lama in 2011 in Australia. Brought about by sharing a stage in his native Kildare with the Dalai Lama during his visit to Ireland. It was here the Tibetan Leader heard Bloom’s dedication song to his plight “As I Waved Goodbye” from Between the Mountain and the Moon.
“I can hear the cry of the geese that fly
Between the mountain and the moon
And the flags that blow in Himalayan snow
Are carried like a haunting tune”
The song was written to capture the moment in 1959 the Dalai Lama said farewell to his beloved city of Lhasa, his country Tibet, and his beloved people. Luka could never have imagined that this song would bring him to sing for three weeks with His Holiness in Australia. This has given Luka a simple motto for life; ‘Follow the song’.
Kevin Barry Moore, as he was named in the beginning, came from the land of St Brigid in Co. Kildare, Ireland. It was in a musical family he was brought up and his journey began through traditional music and the all important Song. It was soon clear that he was developing his own sound, one that centres around place and standing up for the rights of the land, yet is grounded in the poetry of the old traditional Irish Folk songs
“I hear my father’s voice across the breeze
Watch my children work all summer long
I see the turf smoke rising
From the chimney tops
Carrying our stories and songs
Across the breeze”
“My people left our troubled shore
Broken hearted knocking on your door
Small green fields, I could not be free
And your hopeful music is calling me”
He moved from Ireland, first to Holland and then to Washington DC and New York City, USA and his song changed somewhat to a new sound for the Irish Emigrant as the sense of displacement in his lyrics mingled with a positive delight to be exploring the world outside the boundaries of Ireland.
“We seem to go our separate ways
Our bodies tune into a different rhyme
The only thought that is a saving grace
Reunion, with the passage of time
Dreams in America
Dreams in America…”
On his way to New York in 1987 he decided to embrace fully the change of leaving the home land and became officially for the first time Luka (from Suzanne Vega’s song of the same name) Bloom (Joyce’s great Dubliner from Ulysses). Bloom by name and bloom by nature, the music and the man blossomed in New York and songs of love and loss such as Dreams in America and songs with humour and vivaciousness, with a nod to a new beginning such as An Irish Man in China Town sprang forth and Luka Bloom was firmly on the scene.
Luka Bloom has the power to bring audiences to a hush as his poetic lyrics bounce over melodies in a beautiful, captivating way. The same artist can rouse the spirit of the audience to the ceiling when he changes the tempo. His latest tour Heartman has been coupled with the release of the new album This New Morning which features songs such as You Survive and leave an everlasting message of strength and a celebration of the will and power of us mere humans.
“So this new morning
Trust in your heart
And know that your life
Is your great work of art”
From This New Morning 2012
Be Still Now.
“Just be still now, wait a while
And let life come to you
Just be still now, all your dreams
Are on the breezes passing through”
By Helen McNulty 2013