This month, Irish folk artist Luka Bloom returns to Australia for his 12th national tour.
With a career that started in 1969, Luka, the younger brother of fellow folk musician Christy Moore, has played all over the world, and finds himself once again performing to Australian audiences, this time promoting his newest album, 'Frugalisto'.You've recorded over 20 albums. Where does the inspiration come from?
Up to about 40, most of my inspiration came from my own, screwed up view of the world. By 40 that got boring. These past years, I am mostly inspired by the lives and struggles of others. Much more interesting.
You have a new album. How was that to make and do you still enjoy the recording process?
'Frugalisto' was my favourite-ever experience in the studio. I found this gorgeous studio in Timoleague, County Cork. Best engineer. Top musicians. Knew the songs were strong. Love the outcome.Any particular favourites?
The song 'Australia' is an Irishman’s revenge for generations of Irish people being forced to hear sentimental songs about Ireland, sung by Americans or Aussies. In other words, it is an unashamedly, sentimental love song, written by an Irish man (me), and inspired by the only country he loves as much as Ireland, Australia.
What does Frugalisto mean?
The song 'Frugalisto' was inspired by a young, Irish surfer called Fergal Smith who has devoted his recent life to creating a community garden near where I live in County Clare. He is an inspiring young man, who believes we need to let go of our materialistic consumer ways, and return to the business of growing our own food. He is the original Irish frugalisto!Was there a lot of music in your house growing up?
Yes. Our mother was a great singer and pianist. She was sad a lot as our dad died when we were babies; and music and song played a huge part in her survival. She passed it all onto us; bless her.You have previously done a cover of 'Throw Your Arms Around Me', and also have a song called 'Australia' on the new record. You seem to have an appreciation of Australia and its music?
Yep. I love Australia, and have done since I first came here in 1992.
How do you find Australian audiences?
I don’t know how I found them. I just arrived in Australia in 1992, and there they were; an audience. I said ‘hello, it’s nice to see you’. I’ve been saying hello ever since. They are funny, but they love songs, especially the sad ones. Which is cool. Because sad songs make me happy.Why do you think Australian audiences connect with your music?
Well obviously Australian audiences are unbelievably sophisticated and have incredibly good taste in songs and music. Haha! Honestly, I don’t know. I write from the heart. I sing from the heart. I don’t take myself too seriously. Maybe Aussie folk like that.You have toured and lived all over the world. Is there any particular place that you love?
Byron Bay, Fremantle, Adelaide, Sydney, Melbourne, Noosa, Canberra, Byron Bay, Fremantle; and Ennistymon.
You've run your own record label, BigSky Records, since the '90s. How did that come about and how is that going?
I last had a record deal in 1998. Sony Music screwed me. The next year I launched my own website, and created BigSky Records. I’ve been independent ever since. Much better. It’s challenging, but people are amazing, and thank God enough of them continue to buy my records to justify making them.
Luka Bloom Tour Dates
27, 28 Feb - The Basement (Sydney)1 Mar - Lizotte's (Newcastle)5 Mar - Byron Bay Theatre6 Mar - The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane)7-8 Mar - Tilley's (Canberra)10 Mar - The Gov (Adealide)12-13 Mar - Port Fairy Folk Festival16 Mar - National Theatre (Melbourne)17 Mar - Town Hall (Meeniyan)19-20 Mar - Blue Mountains Music Festival22 Mar - Fly By Night Musician's Club (Perth)