17/10/2012

Luka Bloom – Collège des Coudriers – 16.10.2012

It’s not all that often that we have the chance to see top Irish entertainers live in Geneva. When we do it’s usually thanks to the efforts of Denis McClean and the Geneva Literary Aid Society. Last night’s Luka Bloom gig raised more than 6,000 CHF for the Edith Wilkins Foundation, a charity that cares for homeless children in India. GLAS events invariably attract a big Irish contingent, so aside from whatever performance is taking place, it’s also a chance to catch up with friends and acquaintances.

Turning to the gig itself, I’m pretty sure that everyone went home happy. It was my first time to see Luka Bloom live, and to see him in such an intimate setting was a treat. He plays the guitar wonderfully, has a singing voice that can be both passionate and delicate, and is a storyteller par excellence. He was warm and engaging with the stories he told before each song, striking a perfect balance between humour and seriousness.

I love some of his songs and was so happy to hear them live. You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time was great even without the fiddle accompaniment that’s so central to the recording; and to hear him sing and play City Of Chicago, a song of his that was really made famous by his big brother Christy Moore, was a genuine privilege. Beautiful!

Of the songs I hadn’t heard before there were some that I really liked: a song about how he was (reluctantly) so moved by the Queen of England’s visit to the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin last year; the story of an Algerian who ended up making his home in Galway; and a deceptively simple song inspired by Paul Hill (of the Guildford Four) telling him about a walk on a Co. Clare beach with his 9-year old daughter.

I recorded You Couldn’t Have Come At A Better Time myself in 2002, as part of a little demo CD I put together before setting off on my travels with my guitar on my back. Aodán Ó Dubhghaill played fiddle.
You Couldn t Have Come At A Better Time (Luka Bloom) with Aodan O Dubhghaill by eoghan

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1 Response

  1. Denis McClean says:

    Thanks Eoghan for capturing the spirit of the evening so well. I felt a chill listening to Luka describe how he wrote the song on the queen’s visit to Ireland as I felt exactly the same until that moment when I turned on the telly and saw her arriving at the Garden of Remembrance, unfortunately I couldn’t write a song about it! Two other stand outs for me were the song about the Dalai Lama leaving his home forever on St. Patrick’s Day, 1959. Dignity and Backbone is the most sensible thing anyone has written about the demise of the Celtic Tiger and a great soaring feel to it as well, love it.

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