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Friday, April 28, 2006

Luka Bloom: Not Just an Irish Folk Singer

So you're wondering how Luka Bloom's US tour is going? Luka has just played Arizona, and says the tour is going great. In Bloom's longest tour of the US for 10 years, he's playing many places for the first time, though maybe hasn't caught up with just how welcomed some immigrants to the US are.

In a nice question and answer session in the Arizona Republic, Luka is asked of his immigration song, City of Chicago, that captures the search for success in a new land as well as the longing for home:
That is a great song, one I'm tremendously proud of. I wrote it 22 years ago, and my brother [Christy Moore] immediately learned it and recorded it. Now it's a standard. Every Irish band in the United States knows the song (laughs). It's actually part of the curriculum in Irish schools, when they study the famine and the Irish emigration to America.

(City of Chicago) is one of two immigration songs on my new CD. The other being Wherever You Go, There You Are, which takes the opposite view, telling of a Muslim man immigrating to Ireland. My country is currently dealing with immigration in the way America has for hundreds of years. I think it is one of the things that makes America great, how you welcome immigrants.
And on why he grew up a songwriter, and his brother Christy more an interpreter of songs:
I don't think he would object to that comparison. That is one of his talents, making other people's songs his own. He's such a big musical character. Where Christy was drawn to the Clancy Brothers, I grew up listening to Joni Mitchell and James Taylor. He's Woody Guthrie, while I'm Bob Marley
In Kansas City you can notice that point about Christy being an interpreter of songs whenever sing-songs take place among the Irish and Irish-Americans. Both Johnny Duhan and Jimmy McCarthy are great songwriters and great singers, but when you hear people in KC sing the words Life is an ocean, Love is a boat or I could never go with you no matter how I wanted to, from The Voyage and Ride On respectively, you'll hear them do it in a Kildare accent. Because of Christy.

Go have a read of Luka. You'll find Radiohead, Nina Simone, and ABBA in there.

More Luka Bloom Posts:
Luka Bloom and Christy Moore
Review of CD, Innocence, by Luka Bloom
Luka Bloom in Irish Festival


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