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Luka Bloom

A singer and songwriter whose music is defined by passion, lyricism, and a respect of tradition coupled with a willingness to defy expectations, Luka Bloom is one of Ireland's best-respected contemporary folk artists. Bloom was born Kevin Barry Moore in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland on May 23, 1955. The youngest of six children, he grew up in a musical household; his oldest sibling is the celebrated folk musician Christy Moore, while his parents and siblings all play instruments. As a youngster, Moore (who usually went by his middle name Barry) took up the guitar, and became an accomplished fingerpicker by the time he entered his teens. Barry's talents impressed his brother Christy enough that in 1969, he took his 14-year-old sibling to England as his opening act for a club tour, and in 1976, Christy included two songs written by Barry, "Wave Up to the Shore" and "Jenny of the Sun," on his self-titled 1976 album. After completing primary school, Barry attended Newbridge College, where he and his brother Andy formed a group called Aes Triplex, and Barry later transferred to a school in Limerick. By this time, Barry was playing regularly on the Irish folk circuit, and quit school to pursue music full-time. In 1977, he joined the trio Inchiquin for a tour of Germany and the U.K., and a year later, he released his first album, The Treaty Stone. Barry toured extensively in support, but his music underwent a major creative overhaul in 1979, when he was diagnosed with severe tendonitis in his right hand. Unable to fingerpick as he once had, Barry began using a conventional plectrum and used a sharp, aggressive style that give his songs a tougher, more physical sound.

In 1979, Barry relocated to Holland, and his second album, In Groningen, was recorded in the titular city with Eamon Murray and a handful of Dutch musicians. In 1982, Barry returned to Ireland and cut his third album, No Heroes, his first set featuring all-original material. In 1983, he joined the Dublin-based rock band Red Square, and while he's called it a valuable experience that made him a more powerful performer, the group broke up in 1986 with little to show for their efforts. In 1987, Barry decided to very literally reinvent himself; he left Ireland for New York City, and adopted the stage name Luka Bloom, "Luka" from the Suzanne Vega song of the same name, "Bloom" from Leopold Bloom, the principal character in James Joyce's Ulysses. As Luka Bloom, he set out to create a more powerful and commanding performing style that would give him the power of a rock band while armed with just an acoustic guitar, and as he became a regular at a handful of New York venues, he developed a following who responded eagerly to his new style. After recording a self-titled "debut" album in 1988 for a small Irish label that quickly went out of print, Bloom was signed to Reprise Records, which released the album Riverside in 1990. Riverside earned enthusiastic reviews and featured a number of songs that went on to be fan favorites, including "The Man Is Alive," "An Irishman in Chinatown," and "Hudson Lady." Bloom's second album for Reprise, 1992's The Acoustic Motorbike, included Bloom's celebrated cover of LL Cool J's "I Need Love," and Turf followed in 1994. Despite positive reviews and a growing audience in Australia, Europe, and the Netherlands, Bloom didn't enjoy the breakthrough success in America that Reprise was hoping for, and he found himself without a record label.

Between 1994 and 1997, Bloom devoted himself to extensive international touring, taking some time off in 1995 to rest and regroup in Birr, a village in County Offaly, Ireland. The visit proved inspiring, and Bloom began writing a fresh batch of songs that he would eventually record in 1998. Salty Heaven, his first album in five years, was released by Sony in the U.K. and Shanachie in the United States, and predictably it was followed by more touring, after which Bloom relocated to Ireland for good. The year 2000 saw the release of Keeper of the Flame, in which Bloom interpreted the songs of other artists, including Bob Dylan, Radiohead, Bob Marley, the Cure, Tim Hardin, and Hunters & Collectors; it was also the first album whose copyright Bloom would own, opting to lease his material to a variety of international labels after his experience with Sony proved disappointing. The following year, Bloom collected highlights from his three albums as Barry Moore on a compilation called The Barry Moore Years, which he made available only through the official website he'd launched in 2000.

Bloom returned to songwriting with 2001's Between the Mountain and the Moon, which featured guest vocals from Sinéad O'Connor, and he documented his skills as a live performer on the 2003 release Amsterdam, recorded during a 2002 date in support of Between the Mountain and the Moon. As Bloom wrestled with tendonitis again in 2004, he recorded Before Sleep Comes, a deliberately low-key set which, he said, was designed "to help bring you closer to sleep, our sometimes elusive night-friend." Released in 2005, Innocence returned Bloom to a more familiar style, but 2007's Tribe was an unusual collaboration, in which he created lyrics and vocals for a set of instrumental tracks written and produced by musician and composer Simon O'Reilly. A new set of original tunes simply called Eleven Songs was released in 2008, the same year Bloom issued his first live DVD, The Man Is Alive. A second live album, Dreams in America, primarily devoted to songs from his albums for Reprise, was released in 2010, and This New Morning, featuring 13 new songs written during Bloom's 2011 world tour, was released in the fall of 2012. Bloom became an author in 2013 with the publication of Homeplace, a collection of photos, essays, verse, and song lyrics collected from his years on the road. Bloom returned to music in 2014 with Head & Heart, an album recorded in the home studios of Bloom and Brian Masterson, with accompaniment by the Phil Ware Trio. ~ Mark Deming
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Head & Heart

1. Head And Heart

2. Banks Of The Lee

3. Every Grain Of Sand

4. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face

5. Give You Wings

6. Gentle On My Mind

7. My Wild Irish Rose

8. Lonesome Robin

9. And I Love You So

10. Liffeyside

11. Danny Boy

12. The Joy Of Living

x

Track List: This New Morning

1. How Am I To Be?

2. A Seed Was Sown

3. Heart Man

4. Capture A Dream

5. The Race Runs Me

6. You Survive

7. Riverdays

8. Across The Breeze

9. Gaman

10. Your Little Wings

11. Dignity And Backbone

12. The Ride

13. No Big Deal

14. You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time

x

Track List: Dreams In America

1. Dreams In America

2. Bridge Of Sorrow

3. Love Is A Place I Dream Of

4. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself

5. Blackberry Time

6. Lord Franklin

7. See You Soon

8. Ciara

9. The Acoustic Motorbike

10. Cold Comfort

11. Be Still Now

12. Black Is The Colour

13. I Hear Her, Like Lorelei (Live Version)

14. Love Is A Monsoon (Live Version)

15. Sunny Sailor Boy (Live Version)

x

Track List: Eleven Song

1. There Is A Time

2. I'm On Your Side

3. I Hear Her, Like Lorelei

4. I Love The World I'm In

5. Sunday

6. Fire

7. When Your Love Comes

8. See You Soon

9. Eastbound Train

10. Everyman

11. Don't Be Afraid Of The Light That Shines Within You

x

Track List: Tribe

1. Tribe

2. Sound

3. I Am A River

4. Change

5. Early Morning

6. Out There

7. Dead Of Night

8. Star Of Doolin

9. Homeless

10. Lebanon

11. Peace Rains

12. Beara

x

Track List: Luka Bloom: The Platinum Collection

1. Delirious

2. Dreams In America

3. The Fertile Rock

4. Gone To Pablo

5. You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time

6. The Hill Of Allen

7. I Believe In You

8. I Need Love

9. This Is Your Country

10. The Acoustic Motorbike

11. Can't Help Falling In Love

12. Be Well

13. Diamond Mountain

14. Black Is The Colour

15. Holding Back The River

16. Background Noise

17. Sanctuary

x

Track List: Innocence

1. Primavera

2. First Light Of Spring

3. Innocence

4. Venus

5. Miracle Cure

6. Peace On Earth

7. Gypsy Music

8. City Of Chicago

9. June

10. Salvador

11. No Matter Where You Go, There You Are

12. Thank You For Bringing Me Here

13. Larry Redican's Bow

15. I Am Not At War

x

Track List: Before Sleep Comes

1. My Singing Bird

2. Before Sleep Comes

3. She Moves Through The Fair

4. I'll Walk Beside You

5. Camomile

6. Be Still Now

7. Nora

8. The Water is Wide

9. She Sings Her Songs With Open Eyes

x

Track List: Amsterdam

1. Exploring The Blue

2. Sunny Sailor Boy

3. Gone To Pablo

4. Natural Mystic

5. You

6. Don't Be So Jard On Yourself

7. Maka You Feel My Love

8. Diamond Mountain

9. Perfect Groove

10. Monsoon

11. Fertile Rock

12. Delirious

13. Gabriel

x

Track List: Between The Mountain And The Moon

1. Monsoon

2. Here And Now

3. Perfect Groove

4. Love Is A Place I Dream Of

5. Gabriel

6. Soshin

7. Moonslide

8. As I Waved Goodbye

9. I'm A Bogman

10. Rainbow Day

11. Hands Of A Farmer

x

Track List: Keeper of the Flame

1. Make You Feel My Love

2. In Between Days

3. Throw Your Arms Around Me

4. Bad

5. Keeper Of The Flame

6. Urge For Going

7. Wishing On A Star

8. No Surprises

9. Natural Mystic

10. If I Were A Carpenter

11. Dancing Queen

x

Track List: Salty Heaven

1. Blackberry Time

2. The Hungry Ghost

3. Don't Be So Hard On Yourself

4. Ciara

5. Rainbow Warrior

6. Water Ballerina

7. Holly Ground

8. Cool Breeze

9. The Shape Of Love To Come

10. Sanas

11. Forgiveness

x

Track List: Turf

1. Cold Comfort

2. True Blue

3. Diamond Mountain

4. Right Here, Right Now

5. Sunny Sailor Boy

6. Black Is The Colour

7. To Begin To

8. Freedom Song

9. Holding Back The River

10. Background Noise

11. The Fertile Rock

12. I Did Time

13. Sanctuary

x

Track List: The Acoustic Motorbike

1. Mary Watches Everything

2. You

3. I Believe In You

4. I Need Love

5. Exploring The Blue

6. This Is Your Country

7. The Acoustic Motorbike

8. Can't Help Falling In Love

9. Bones

10. Bridge Of Sorrow

11. Listen To The Hoofbeat

12. Be Well

x

Track List: Riverside

1. Delirious

2. Dreams In America

3. Over The Moon

4. Gone To Pablo

5. The Man Is Alive

6. An Irishman In Chinatown

7. Rescue Mission

8. The One

9. Hudson Lady

10. This Is For Life

11. You Couldn't Have Come At A Better Time

12. The Hill Of Allen

Comments

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<3
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smoraites
speaks to me
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megilee
Bad!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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He always has a good story- a fine lyricist. Often, very much a humorist.
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Luka Bloom, my favorite singer song writer ever, next to Chris Rice, David Wilcox and Joni Mitchell!
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I am definitely a fan and have been listening to Luka Bloom for several years. Listen to; Love Is A Place I Dream Of with Sinead O'Connor and you will be mesmerized.
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He's got a cool "Irish storyteller" thing going on.
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jennifer.hil g e m a n
He's an incredible musician, songwriter and singer. If you ever get the chance to see him perform live, don't pass it up - it's an experience that words can't describe.
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ctmthor8
An inspired guitarist, a mesmerizing performer, a marvelous voice, all with a fine sense of humor.
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bcriley8
Love this guy! Have been listening to him all up and down the west coast
Big Sur to ocean Beach...."We all need love!" XXOO
Report as inappropriate
I just saw Luka bloom in concert at The Egg in Albany, NY - very intimate show in a great theater. AWESOME and Mesmerizing. Not to mention a very sexy Irishman....
Report as inappropriate
I have not had the chance to witness this great artist in concert yet but I am sure he is fantastic! His music is some of the best I have ever heard. The first time I had heard of Luka Bloom was when I bought a CD called Celtic Christmas II..A Windham Hill Collection. His song Listen To The River is on that. I have been a fan every since. :)
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unique sounds, rich in imagery.
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tcossetta
He's by far, my favorite artist of all time. He's got the gift to share, eloquent words and remarkable tunes.
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I am a huge fan of Luka Bloom, although I haven't listened to him for a few years. I saw him in Ann Arbor Michigan at a Borders Store and he blew me away. If you get a chance to see him live it is very worth every penny.
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mlstax
I agree, voice quite pleasing, song has a good flow to it caught my attention and drew me in. Pandora is proving to be quite good at introducing me artists I've not heard before thanks!
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nice voice infectious
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Makes one guitar sound like 3. Outstanding live performer. The comment by vmurray is right on. He makes a sensitive song cool.
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A mature artist, a great writer and singer, unique and the equal to his brother Christy, (mighty in his own right).
Report as inappropriate
What a great and underrated artist!! More Pandora!! Luka is a modern
bard of epic proportions! !
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Z1

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