Thom Moore

Thom Moore was born on December 6, 1943, in California, the third son of a heavy-equipment operating engineer from the island of Santa Catalina, off Los Angeles. His mother, who was by nature a romantic and a reader of Isak Dinesen and Lawrence Durrell, persuaded her husband to take employment in East Africa and the Middle East, so he spent his formative years in Ethiopia (1950-53) and Lebanon (1955-61).

After graduating from the American Community School in Beirut, he entered the U.S. Navy and served three years as a journalist on the staff of the Pacific Fleet commander in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. He entered the University of California, Los Angeles, after getting out of the Navy in 1965, not soon enough to avoid service in Vietnam. He took a bachelor’s degree Magna cum laude in Slavic Languages and Literatures in 1969 and a master’s in 1970.

He moved to Ireland in 1971, settling near Sligo in the northwest of that country. He formed the band Pumpkinhead in 1973, performing original material and Irish traditional music. Their only recording was released in 1975, the very first release (LUN-001) of the Bothy-Band house label Mulligan, but the band itself was dissolved a year later. He then founded a new group, Midnight Well, which also recorded in Ireland with Mulligan Records (LUN-011) in 1977. Vicissitudes of various shapes and sizes ensued at this point, among them his divorce from his first wife in 1978 and the breakup of Midnight Well shortly after. He returned to California in 1979 at the behest of his manager, Paul McGuinness, but instead of furthering his musical career, he found himself an instructor of English grammar, punctuation, and vocabulary at a machine-stenographers’ school in Van Nuys, a position he held until July 1987. The only explanation that suffices for this turn of affairs is that his material is probably not appropriate to most existing American markets.

Then the looming Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty (1988) convinced him to refresh his Russian language capabilities, which he did courtesy of the U.S. Navy Reserve, after which he went to work for the newly formed On-Site Inspection Agency (OSIA) as an interpreter-escort for Soviet inspectors coming through Travis Air Force Base in northern California. But the entire period he was in California in the 1980s he was writing songs and performing weekly with an Irish-music band, Train to Sligo. One of his songs from this period, The Crooked Road (Carolina Rua), was made popular by the Irish singer Mary Black in the summer of 1989, and he decided to return to Ireland and resume his musical career in the fall of that year. Fate intervened again in the form of an offer of a job as an interpreter-inspector at the INF permanent-monitoring site in Votkinsk, a manufacturing city in the Udmurt Autonomous Republic, on the European side of the Ural Mountains in what is now once again Russia. Not wanting either to give up this opportunity to live and work in Russia nor his intention to return to music in Ireland, he spent as much as possible of his frequent time off from the Votkinsk job in music circles in Ireland.

Fate again intervened when he fell in love with and married Lyubov Gennadyevna Koroleva, a Russian interpreter-escort that he worked with, and perforce quit the restrictive circumstances of the government job, finding employment in 1993 as a professor of English at the Udmurt National University in Izhevsk. He continued this practice of working in Russia and playing music in Ireland until his removal back to Ireland with his new family in November, 1995. His creative work, which he considers more literary than musical, shows the distinctive influence of the various countries and cultures of his experience. But the most serious influence of his life has been and will always be the rich instrumental-music tradition of Ireland, upon which he bases an ever-increasing amount of his work.

Most commented posts

  1. On the subject of Beirut and its people… — 2 comments
  2. Cedars of Lebanon — 1 comment

Author's posts

Nov 04 2010

More Moore

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBGQhJDlys0[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MCAe9SEH9SQ[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y1RHn1WAkbk[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGPIlQn3NYs[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSv5k7XmxQE[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI86SteM2FE[/tube]

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vQSRGHJxcg[/tube]

…and that’s about the sum total I can find of my songs on YouTube.  There’s probably more from Mary Black and Maura O’Connell etc., but I can’t be bothered.… [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/11/04/more-moore/

Nov 04 2010

Cedars of Lebanon

Whoa: I found this funky-but-great version of Seamie O’Dowd, Mairtin O’Connor, and Cathal Hayden playing Cedars of Lebanon.  They are three of the greatest living folk/trad musicians in Ireland, and tour Europe a lot in this formation.

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22xDMXEo0Dw[/tube]

Cedars Of Lebanon

A long way from Pharoah’s hand,
and a quick step from the Promised Land,
a quick step from Palestine,
and a heart-beat from this heart of mine:
rock-fall at the Wailing Wall,
and the temple-keepers fly
to where Time … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/11/04/cedars-of-lebanon/

Nov 04 2010

On the subject of Beirut and its people…

[tube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ae2dEWoKsxA[/tube]

A song called Alice in Jericho, where Lebanon/Beirut is the actual subject. The singer is Ireland’s Seamie O’Dowd. The venue is some jazz club in Australia, not sure where.

Alice In Jericho

Now, the natural part of a Nazarene man
is the life he’ll give for his own blood-band;
but there’s nothing left over for the Philistines, too,
not the land they lost, nor the life they knew.
And the Prophet’s peace of a thousand years
meant nothing but … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/11/04/on-the-subject-of-beirut-and-its-people/

Nov 03 2010

Like a koan

Monsieur d’Nalgar’s note:  The following reaction was set in motion by the arrival of a poem/article/essay by Ange Mlinko, entitled “Letter from Beirut.”  It was published in the July/August 2010 issue of Poetry.  The photo below (©2006 Derek Henry Flood) is of a woman looking at the destruction of Haret Hreyk after the ceasefire was declared on August 15th, 2006. 

“There is not a sheep’s eye in the whole performance.”

Hmmmm.  This is not a koan: it’s … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/11/03/like-a-koan/

Jul 27 2010

Mollywood On My Mind

 Politics & US foreign policy: Pakistan (or Mollywood On My Mind)

It seems to me that the keystone to present (=Obama) policy in ‘Af-Pak’ is the very nature of politics in Pakistan.  And the question there is … which linguistic groups/tribes/ethnic groups are being sacrificed when attacking the Pushtun tribal structure on the ground … and which stand to gain by their sacrifices?  In a multi-ethnic environment like Pakistan, united by little other than their religion (no comment here on … [more]

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/07/27/mollywood-on-my-mind/