Today’s Feature, July 22nd and 23rd: Luka Bloom

January 18, 2008 at 6:29 pm (Today's Feature)

A true musician has one goal when they write a song, walk on stage, or sing in a packed concert venue. The definitive high, the ultimate achievement, is to be able to produce a song that truly affects a listener. To piece together a tune that means something in the lives of music followers around the world is a feat any artist dreams of. Most go through careers, long and short, without ever realizing such a dream. Luka Bloom of Ireland however, is not one of those artists. The folk-rock sound of this Newbridge native allows him to take over a crowd with only his words and his guitar. The first time I heard, “I Am Not At War”, I was surprised and fascinated by the simple yet significant message of the song. I fell asleep that night with Bloom’s words echoing in my head, “We could live as one / Between the sea and sun / I am not at War with anyone”. Even with such wonderful talent, Bloom still remembers, the best part is the privilege of singing for people.

Luka Bloom has been playing in front of captivated crowds since he was 14 years old and has played with The Pogues, the Violent Femmes, The Dixie Chicks, Hothouse Flowers, and The Cowboy Junkies. This singer-songwriter continues music today with his latest release, Tribe. It is a collaboration with Irish composer Simon O’Reilly, and a bit of a departure for Bloom. Bloom’s unwavering dedication to his craft and his sound is hard to find in today’s music industry, and it’s our privilege to witness it. Read his XXQs to find out more.

XXQs: Luka Bloom

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How and when did you get involved with music? Luka Bloom (LB): I grew up in a house of songs. Our mother encouraged us all to sing. I sang in a Christmas concert when I was 7 in the local cinema. The song was ‘my singing bird’. Its been downhill ever since…

PEV: Coming from a family of singers and songwriters, did that have a large impact on your music?

LB: Yes, though I was the first songwriter in the family…But my brother Christy’s singing and the people he introduced me to was very influential to me.

PEV: Describe the feeling of stepping into a recording studio for the first time.

LB: It was Keystone studios in Harcourt Street in 1977, and I was recording my debut record Treaty Stone. Christy was producer, and the engineer was Brian Masterson, who has since recorded many of my records. The feelings were a mixture of excitement, fear, respect, and a strong sense of privilege. Not many people got to make records in Ireland those days.

PEV: Was there a certain moment or time when you said to yourself, “music is going to be a career for me”?

LB: I was about 15. I was in a trio in school with my brother Andy, and Pat Kilbride. We were called Aes Triplex, and got into the final of a talent contest on TV called Reach For The Stars. But in truth from the moment I wrote my first songs it was inevitable.

PEV: Tell us about the “beginning years” of Luka Bloom, when you toured with older brother, Christy Moore, at only fourteen.

LB: From a very early point in Christy’s career it was obvious he had the ability to command the attention of people. I really saw this when I first traveled a little in England with him in the mid 60s, going around folk clubs watching him work his magic

PEV: What can people expect from you latest release, “Tribe” and how is it different from your other albums?

LB: Tribe is a big departure for me. It is a collaboration with Irish composer Simon O’Reilly. Simon created most of the music on the record, providing me with the backdrop for songs in a very different mood. It has been a gorgeous project, allowing me to be a singer without guitar for many tracks, and for the first time. I love the sound and the atmosphere of the record. It’s important to be challenged, and to attempt to create outside one’s comfort zone from time to time.

PEV: You have traveled and performed all across the world, so in your opinion, which city offers the best environment/appreciation for music?

LB: Tough one, and unfair to the cities omitted. I have found myself at home in rooms in many places…If really pressed, I guess I have to say New York, because it was there in the late eighties and early nineties, where doors previously closed to me were suddenly burst open; and the journey I’ve been on ever since truly began there. Every time I return to New York, I feel a deep need to simply say thank you for giving me a true sense of possibility in my songlife.

PEV: Is there a certain atmosphere or environment you surround yourself in when you write music?

LB: Solitude, quiet, detachment, otherwise I won’t get started….

PEV: What drives you to continually create music?

LB: The insatiable desire to write a truly fantastic song, and the reward of getting to sing it for people.

PEV: What do all your friends and family think about your success?

LB: Pretty stupid question if you don’t mind me saying so, only because the answer is pretty obvious yes?

PEV: How has life on the road been for you? LB: Life on the road is normal for me, because it is what I’ve done for most of my life.

PEV: And what is the best and worst part about “road-life”?

LB: The best part is the privilege of singing for people, and the worst part is the post 9\11 insanity in airports. The worst parts are diverse and numerous, but always worth it, because of the simple truth of the best part….

PEV: If I were to walk into your house/and studio right now, what is one thing I would be surprised to find?

LB: Normality.

PEV: When you are not traveling or performing, what do you like to do?

LB: See my sons, my family and friends. Sleep, walk, sleepwalk! Drink the delicious tea never found on the road.

PEV: What can someone expect from a live Luka Bloom show?

LB: 100%.

PEV: What is the best part about playing live?

LB: Everything.

PEV: What kind of places do you prefer to play; large venues, smaller clubs, etc.? Why?

LB: Big, small, round, square, rectangular…the only thing they have to be is full.

PEV: You have worked with many of the top artists in the business (The Pogues, Violent Femmes, The Dixie Chicks, Hothouse Flowers, The Cowboy Junkies, to name a few). If you could collaborate with one artist, living or passed, who would it be and why?

LB: Why do Americans say passed instead of dead? Someone ‘passed’ has just walked by; someone dead is….dead. Anyway, I’d love to have worked with Miles Davis, because it would have frightened the living daylights out of me, and would have taught me in ways I can’t really imagine. I’d love to sing with Sinead O’Connor again, because the one collaboration I had with her was simply sublime.

PEV: Who do you think is an artist to watch for on the scene right now or you think is on a fast track to having a long career in music?

LB: Sabrina Dinan is an Irish singer who has toured with me for 2 years, and makes everyone incredibly happy wherever she sings with me. She is the most successful opening act I’ve ‘ever known, and will be singing her songs worldwide for a long time.

PEV: What’s one thing the fans would be surprised to hear about Luka Bloom?

LB: I like Desperate Housewives.

PEV: So, what is next for Luka Bloom?

LB: Bed. Goodnight.

For more information on Luka Bloom, check out, http://www.LukaBloom.com

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