Luka Bloom

A singer and songwriter whose music is defined by passion, lyricism, and a respect of tradition coupled with a willingness to defy expectations, Luka Bloom is one of Ireland's best-respected contemporary folk artists. Bloom was born Kevin Barry Moore in Newbridge, County Kildare, Ireland on May 23, 1955. The youngest of six children, he grew up in a musical household; his oldest sibling is the celebrated folk musician Christy Moore, while his parents and siblings all play instruments. As a youngster, Moore (who usually went by his middle name Barry) took up the guitar, and became an accomplished fingerpicker by the time he entered his teens. Barry's talents impressed his brother Christy enough that in 1969, he took his 14-year-old sibling to England as his opening act for a club tour, and in 1976, Christy included two songs written by Barry, "Wave Up to the Shore" and "Jenny of the Sun," on his self-titled 1976 album. After completing primary school, Barry attended Newbridge College, where he and his brother Andy formed a group called Aes Triplex, and Barry later transferred to a school in Limerick. By this time, Barry was playing regularly on the Irish folk circuit, and quit school to pursue music full-time. In 1977, he joined the trio Inchiquin for a tour of Germany and the U.K., and a year later, he released his first album, The Treaty Stone. Barry toured extensively in support, but his music underwent a major creative overhaul in 1979, when he was diagnosed with severe tendonitis in his right hand. Unable to fingerpick as he once had, Barry began using a conventional plectrum and used a sharp, aggressive style that give his songs a tougher, more physical sound.