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On Leonard Cohen

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"So come, my friends, be not afraid.
We are so lightly here.
It is in love that we are made;
In love we disappear."

Happy posthumous birthday, Lenny.

You tried, in your way, to be free. Thank you. Now go join that great gig in the sky. So I wrote a year ago, when Lenny left us. However, the legend lives on - listen for example to How the Light Gets In.

'We Love Leonard Cohen' celebrated his 81st Birthday, and then, for his 82nd and final birthday, Leonard gave us a present. "You Want It Darker" is the title track to last album, his 14th studio album in his 49-year recording career. (See also Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker.)

"Leonard Cohen offers the possibility of living with grace, dignity, and integrity, without submitting to illusions, without succumbing to indifference, and without indulging in denial of our own failures and flaws, in a world that is too often corrupt and malevolent" - Allan Showalter

Grateful to once again have had the privilege to see my joint all-time favourite, touring his new(ish) album, in Mönchengladbach on 6th September 2012, and again at his Oberhausen concert on 25th June 2013, during world tour. Sublime as ever; further enhanced by the inclusion of the peerless Alexandra Leaving in the live set once more and to witness an elderly Jew again sing The Partisan in front of thousands of adoring Germans, well who says we haven't progressed, in at least some spheres of life?

"His voice has aged into a worn-leather bass that, emanating from well-like depths, might pass for the weary voice of God" - from No Cooler Cat Than Cohen by Adrian Chamberlain.

Previously, I'd last seen Leonard play in Lille in late 2010, accompanied by Maddy, my eldest daughter, who was there again in Mönchengladbach with my wife Ailsa, and who I'm sure will help carry the torch for this unique talent forward to the next generation and beyond.

Speaking at the Prince of Asturias Awards, Leonard - a master of duende - recalled the defining little moment when he shifted towards music and songwriting.  He called it the moment that explains “How I Got My Song,” and it’s all bound up with Spain and tragedy (transcript here).

The 2005 documentary, Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man, remains a fascinating retrospective of Cohen’s life and work that features tribute performances by famous artists, including Beth Orton, Nick Cave, Martha and Rufus Wainwright, and U2. Contrast this with Leonard at the isle Of Wight Festival back in 1970.

Speaking in a September 2014 interview about his new Popular Problems album, Leonard celebrated the "doneness" of completing songs/projects in this "veil of tears".

Much of Leonard's recent world view seems to have been influenced by his time as a Zen monk.

Many have just marvelled at why it's good to be Leonard Cohen...

 

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