Democracy As Spoken Poetry Vs Song
Since this recitation of “Democracy” by Leonard Cohen from the “United States of Poetry” DVD was initially posted here two years ago at “Democracy Is Coming To The USA” – So Sayeth The Prophet Leonard Cohen, better quality versions have surfaced online. By my reckoning, the one uploaded by a1000kissesdeep (aka Tom Sakic) is among the best and perhaps the best of the lot.
My previous description, however, of the performance still holds:
Maybe it’s the sunglasses he’s wearing – or the podium on which he’s leaning – or the backdrop of an American flag that transforms into a bar code - or the ominous instrumental soundtrack – or the komboloi (worry beads) – or the closeups of Cohen’s face – or the Italian subtitles1 – or …, but there’s a surreal, visionary tone that imparts an angst-provoking ambiguity to this 1992 video1 of Leonard Cohen reciting his poem, “Democracy,” that is absent from his more stirring presentation of the lyrics as a song in concert.
It’s heavy handed video dramaturgy, but it works.
Leonard Cohen – Democracy (Spoken Word)
Leonard Cohen – Democracy (Song)
For comparison, watch the video, uploaded by albertnoonan, of “Democracy” as performed at the HP Pavilion in San Jose on Nov 13, 2009._____________________
- OK, there are no Italian subtitles in this version [↩]