Back in the 1980s all the cool kids had LPs by Suzanne Vega. And Luka from her second LP, Solitude Standing, is one of her best songs.
I had always assumed that it was about a woman, but a piece Vega wrote for the New York Times explains:
The simplicity of the tune is typical of Vega's song from the period, but the slight flavour of country music in the guitar playing here make it interesting and there is no hint of preaching.
It was my manager at the time, Ron Fierstein, who plucked ”Luka” out. “Is that song about what I think it’s about?” he asked one day in the back of Folk City. My memory of that conversation goes something like this:
“I don’t know,” I said. “What do you think it’s about?”
“Unless I am mistaken it seems to be from the point of view of a child who is abused.”
"That’s right. A 9-year-old boy named Luka.”
“Where did you get the name from?”
“A 9-year-old boy who lives in my building. Who is not abused, by the way. I like the name Luka, it’s universal. It could be a girl or boy and it could be any nationality.”