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Luka Bloom – Knitting Factory – Saturday June 26 th , 2004 - review by Alice Farrell

Luka BloomI always approach a Luka Bloom show with incredible anticipation and a knowledge that I will come away with a different and powerful experience each time and this show was certainly no different. Since his initial recreating of himself with his re-naming upon reaching the shores of America , he has continued to re-mold himself in different musical veins, whether it be powerful guitar styles, celebrations of nature, or the interpretation of the songs of others in a new way. He has now found a sense of calm in the midst of this storm of genius, that brought us the beautiful “Before Sleep Comes” which has borne a whole slew of new songs that he trotted out to share with us.

I had the opportunity to interview him on the phone shortly before the show and he gave some great insights into the new songs, his new style of playing and what lies on the road ahead. The interview will be available in streaming audio soon here on the site. Click HERE to listen now on RealAudio

The man came onstage in a tailored suit, cutting quite a dashing figure compared to the floral shirts and biking shorts of the past, and set about the task of introducing the audience to the cadre of new songs starting off with Innocence and First LIght of Spring both fluid and gentle, and telling of the newfound sense of awareness that he has found in his life, surroundings and his music.

He continued on with the vibrantly Middle Eastern flavored Gypsy Music giving glimpses into the places that he has traveled, or wishes to go to, much in the same vein as Perfect Groove from the Between the Mountain and the Moon album, telling tales of the sharing of his music and the vibes of the people who come out to hear it. Very fitting for a setting such as a New York club, where so many folks have been following his music for so long, and vicariously going on his travels along with him.

The evening rolled along with a number of brilliant new songs, showcasing his nimble picking style, which has often been swallowed up in the voluminous guitar sound for which he is known, and included a tribute to his ladylove in Salvador and a fabulous group of new friends in Summer and Friends, one that I'm sure we can all share in, just entering into the great season of shared experiences at the beach or in the mountains, basking in the summer sun and the congregation of great people.

Probably the most touching song of the evening was Thank You For Bringing Me Here, a beautiful ballad inspired by a walk taken by a father and daughter along the Burren coastline, and her gratitude to her father for showing her the beautiful things in life, and the double entendre of the simple gratitude we all feel for our creation.

As the evening progressed, he did trot out crowd favorites including Sunny Sailor Boy, Love is a Place I Dream Of, and the rarely performed City of Chicago which most people know from the rendition by Christy Moore, rather than by Luka who actually wrote it.

The highpoint of the evening came with a true sean nos rendition of Caoineadh Na Dtrí Mhuire which translates as The Crying of the Three Marys an achingly beautiful song, as only sean nos can be, telling the story of Mary weeping at the base of the cross. This is the first time that I have heard him sing in Irish and a full sean nos song and he does an amazing job. The strength of his voice is greater than I have ever heard it before and the emotion of the song grows as the story wends its way through the grief of Mary which hung palpably in the air as he sang. Here's hoping that this will find its way onto his new album and become a must for future shows!

Alyanya, the wonderful young Dublin singer/songwriter who is opening for him on this tour, joined him for an encore of her song Arise and his Love is a Place I Dream of  For those waiting for a glimpse of the rowdier and more robust Luka tunes, he didn't disappoint with a forcefully funky Bogman.

Rounding the evening to a close, he sent everyone off into the sultry New York night with a warm and soulful cup of Chamomile , filling everyone to the brim with relaxing and soothing thoughts to take with them on their way. Having made many jokes during the evening about the coming of age that the writing of these songs has been for him, it was definitely clear that he has made great strides down a new path on the journey of his career, and it's one that I'm certain Luka fans and newcomers alike will enjoy rambling down as well. Look for a new album to come soon, and another trip to these shores in the Fall. You can keep up with his movements at www.lukabloom.com

Alice's Audio Interview with Luka. CLICK HERE

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