Category Archives: Anjani Thomas

Anjani Thomas To Perform 2 New Songs Written With Leonard Cohen At 2013 Feast Of Cohen

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Anjani Thomas will perform two unreleased songs co-written with Leonard Cohen as well as a couple of songs from the Blue Alert album at the 2013 Feast Of Cohen, a tribute to the Canadian singer-songwriter held annually in St. John’s every December since 2000.

Anjani, whose 2006 Blue Alert album featured songs written and arranged by her and Leonard Cohen, explains, “Paul Koidis1 was in St. John’s, and suggested to me that it would be great to try out some of the new songs.”

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Anjani was a backup singer for Cohen beginning with the 1984 recording of Hallelujah for the Various Positions album. She was the keyboardist and female vocalist on Cohen’s 1985 Tour in support of that album. She continued to record vocals for him on I’m Your Man (1988), The Future (1992) and Dear Heather (2004).

The new songs are among those being considered for Anjani’s new CD, tentatively titled, “I Came To Love,” scheduled for release in Spring 2014.

As reported in Special Guest Will Make ‘Feast Of Cohen’ Richer by Tara Bradbury (The Telegram: December 19, 2013):

Hynes [Vicky Hynes, creator and organizer of the Feast Of Cohen] got a call from staff at Fred’s Records last August, telling her a man was in the store saying he was Thomas’ manager, and wanted to get in touch with her.

‘Lo and behold, he was contacting me because apparently (Thomas and Cohen) have quite a few songs, not a handful, but more like 70 or 80, that they’ve co-written together. She’s looking at possibly recording next year, and she hasn’t decided whether she’s going to do a complete album of co-writes or some of her own stuff and some co-writes,’ Hynes explained. ‘She was looking for a platform to present some of the new stuff that hasn’t been heard before, and she had heard about Feast of Cohen.’ …Thomas will perform a 20-minute set with local musicians Bill Brennan and Mark Peddle during this year’s show

Feast of Cohen will run at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre Dec. 28 and 29. Tickets are $50 (HST and service charge included) and are available at the Arts and Culture Centre box office, by calling 729-3900, or online at www.artsandculturecentre.com.

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  1. From [PAUL KOIDIS]
    Paul also Executive Produced the exclusive premiere industry concert for Adam Cohen, son of Leonard Cohen, for an album of unreleased songs which was later nominated for a JUNO award for adult contemporary album of the year. In 2013, Paul will be launching a new series of unreleased Leonard Cohen songs, as performed by Anjani Thomas, long-time collaborator and partner of Leonard Cohen and featured on the original recording of Hallelujah, at Canada’s oldest music festival, A Feast of Cohen, in Newfoundland. []

Hear Lou Reed Sing Leonard Cohen’s "Memories" With Anjani Thomas – 2006

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The Lou Reed-Leonard Cohen Mutual Admiration Society

lou-lcThe recent death of Lou Reed called to mind his many connections with Leonard Cohen, beginning with their meeting in New York in the 1960s. Cohen summarizes their early relationship:

[Lou Reed]  was an early reader of Beautiful Losers which he thought was a good book. In those days I guess he wasn’t getting very many compliments of his work and I certainly wasn’t. So we told each other how good we were. I liked him immediately because Nico liked him.1

And it was Reed who introduced Leonard Cohen At Cohen’s 2008 Induction Into Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

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In fact, earlier this year (April 7, 2013), Lou Reed was in the audience at the Leonard Cohen Radio City Music Hall Show.

Less well known, however, are Reed’s appearances, both as a spectator and a participant, at many Cohen-related shows.  Dick and Linda Straub recall, for example,  seeing Lou Reed at at Joe’s Pub where Anjani was promoting the Blue Alert album on which Cohen collaborated.

The “Came So Far For Beauty” Leonard Cohen Tribute

Lou Reed also took part in “Came So Far For Beauty: An Evening of Leonard Cohen Song,” a Cohen tribute which  took place Oct 5 & 6, 2006 in Dublin.  Produced by Hal Willner, it featured 24 star performers, including, in addition to Reed, Anjani Thomas, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Cave, Teddy Thompson, Mary Margaret O’Hara, The Handsome Family, Antony, Laurie Anderson, Beth Orton, and Gavin Friday.

“Memories” – The Came So Far For Beauty Finale

The finale of the show was lou-reed-anjani“Memories” from the Death Of A Ladies’ Man album. Closing the show, this number was also used an opportunity for the performers to showcase their skills one last time.

And, as it turned out, Lou Reed and Anjani were paired in an exchange of the song’s lines.

An eye-witness, who writes on the LeonardCohenForum under the arbitrarily truncated designation, Born With The Gift Of A G, describes the scene in his posting, Thoughts On Came So Far For Beauty in Dublin: Part 2:

… on the second night, The Handsome Family’s third contribution was omitted; Teddy Thompson’s splendid rousing The Future was the penultimate song and the collective rendition of Memories was the closing song. Everybody seemed to have great fun with the latter, particularly Lou Reed who relished flirting with and saying the words “your naked body” to a somewhat flustered Anjani! Lucky old bugger!

Or, as Anjani commented when I asked about her duet with Lou Reed,

That was a hoot, alright

The Lyrics

Lou Reed:

Frankie Lane, he was singing Jezebel
I pinned an Iron Cross to my lapel
I walked up to the tallest and the blondest girl
I said, Look, you don’t know me now but very soon you will
So won’t you let me see
I said “won’t you let me see”
I said “won’t you let me see
Your naked body?”

Anjani:

Just dance me to the dark side of the gym
Chances are I’ll let you do most anything
I know you’re hungry, I can hear it in your voice
And there are many parts of me to touch, you have your choice
Ah but no you cannot see
She said “no you cannot see”
She said “no you cannot see
My naked body”

The Recording

The recording of this delight is admittedly an imperfect offering – but, heck, it’s Lou Reed and Anjani singing Leonard Cohen’s “Memories.”  What’s not to like?

Memories – Came So Far For Beauty Tribute (Dublin, Oct. 5, 2006)
Note: Lou Reed begins singing at about 3:14

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Credit Due Department: The photo of Lou Reed and Anjani as well as the audio recording are from Linda Straub. Thanks to Guy Minnebach for clarifying the point at which Lou Reed begins singing.

  1. September 15th 1974 by Robin Pike. ZigZag magazine: October 1974. Found at the one and only Speaking Cohen. []

Those Incredible 1985 Leonard Cohen Norway Videos Are Online Again

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Now You See Them, Now You Don’t, Now You Do, … The Spectacular Leonard Cohen Kalvøya Videos

In 2009, Heck Of A Guy posted Baby, Baby, Baby – Leonard Cohen & Anjani Sing The Blues In Norway celebrating the YouTube appearance of three spectacular videos, “I Tried to Leave You,” “Heart With No Companion,” and “Story of Isaac,” taken from a TV broadcast of a 1985 performance by Leonard Cohen in Kalvøya (“Isle of Calf” – near Oslo), Norway.

The color and clarity of these recordings were outstanding, the performances, with Anjani on the keyboards and vocals, were  solid, and watching these videos was moving, exhilarating, and fun.

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Note: On my computer and with my internet access, there are a few segments with fluttering sound.

Since then, the videos have reappeared and been removed at least once.1

The good news is that, as I discovered in catching up after a week away from  Cohen World, some of the Kalvoya performances have now been uploaded to Daily Motion and can be viewed below.

The bad news is that “I Tried To Leave You” has not been re-uploaded.2

The corresponding good news is that “Memories,” a performance not previously available, has been added.
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And, with his hair slicked back, his beard stylishly scruffy, a cigarette in one hand, and a microphone in the other (note the dramatic microphone dip at 1:58), Leonard Cohen’s matinee idol persona, typically used in the performance of “Memories,” has never been more enjoyable.

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Leonard Cohen – Memories, Heart With No Companion, Story Of Isaac (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985)
Uploaded By dag2007

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Credit Due Department: All images in this post are screen captures from the Memories video (Kalvøya, Norway, 1985).

  1. Most of the content of this post, in fact, was originally published the last time these videos were available. []
  2. I heartily recommend checking out Baby, Baby, Baby – Leonard Cohen & Anjani Sing The Blues In Norway for the description and screen captures of that performance. []

Two Anjani Performances On Her Birthday

Happy Birthday, Anjani Thomas

I can’t think of a better way of celebrating Anjani’s natal day than simply posting two of her performances that are special favorites of mine.

Anjani Thomas – 1985

Anjani Thomas Stars On Jools Holland Show

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Although Anjani sang “Innermost Door” on the Jools Holland Show as part of the promotion of the Blue Alert album in 2007,  this video didn’t surface online until two years later.1

When asked about about this performance, Anjani responded,

I was so honored to do on this show. Jools’ love for music and musicians is so real and supportive, and he’s a such a versatile artist that he played keyboards for The White Stripes in the same show!

This was filmed in a cavernous studio that was refrigerator cold. I could actually see my breath in the dressing room and had to wrap myself up in a towel and jump up and down to stay warm.

I was really happy that Jools’ played piano for me so I could focus on the vocal and not worry about my shivering hands.

When Meg and Jack came on the decibel level went off the charts. I have never heard a band make so much music out of guitar, bass and drums…

There was so much energy in the room it seemed to encourage the other bands on the show to play even louder to make an impression.

Talk about feeling old — I had my fingers in my ears for most of the filming! But it was a thrill and definitely the highlight of that tour.

What I wrote when I first posted this video in 2009 is as true today as it was then:

In light of the production values of the recording and, frigid environs notwithstanding, the quality of Anjani’s own performance, this may be the best video of her work.

Anjani – The Innermost Door (Jools Holland Show – June 1, 2007)

The Duets: Anjani & Leonard Cohen Sing Never Got To Love You & Whither Thou Goest

One reason these duets are among my favorites is that the Heck Of A Guy site was privileged, thanks to Apolinary POlek, who provided the recordings from a radio broadcast, to be the first online source of the  duets Anjani and Leonard Cohen sang in Warsaw in 2007.2

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Duet – Warsaw 2007

The duets in the following video were performed at the April 24, 2007 Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani concert at Joe’s Pub in New York.

Credit Due Department: Photo atop post is by Tom Stockill. The 1985 photo of Anjani is a video screen capture, as is shot of Anjani just under  the heading, “Anjani Thomas Stars On Jools Holland Show.”  The close-up of Anjani and Leonard Cohen singing at Joe’s Pub was found  at BrooklynVegan. The photo of Leonard Cohen and Anjani singing in Warsaw was found at Polskie Radio.

  1. Unsurprisingly, the video was uploaded by a1000kissesdeep, aka Tom Sakic of A Thousand Kisses Deep. who has a knack for finding and contributing extraordinarily rare and extraordinarily wonderful videos. []
  2. See
    Whither Thou Goest – The Best Leonard Cohen-Anjani Duet You (Probably) Haven’t Heard and  Never Got To Love You – Another Leonard Cohen-Anjani Duet You (Probably) Haven’t Heard []

Video: Anjani Sings “Crazy To Love You” At Leonard Cohen-Glenn Gould Prize Gala

Neil Larsen Accompanies Anjani Thomas

By all accounts, this rendition of “Crazy To Love You” (from the Anjani Thomas-Leonard Cohen Blue Alert album) by Anjani with Neil Larsen on the keyboards, was a high point of the May 14, 2012 Glenn Gould Prize Leonard Cohen tribute concert held in Massey Hall, Toronto.

Video by Arlene Dick of Arlene’s Leonard Cohen Scrapbook

Leonard Cohen & Anjani Interview 2006

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas - 2006 Interview (screen capture)

On The Blue Alert Tour

Newly posted to YouTube (six viewings at the time of this post ), this two minute video features an interview of Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas by Luce Gauthier, which took place in Toronto during the promotion of the Blue Alert album (released in Canada on May 2, 2006) and appears to have originally aired on TFO, the franco-ontarian public television network.

While most fans will already be familiar with the information in the interview, this new opportunity (at least the video is new to me) to hear Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas articulate the strengths each brought to their collaboration in creating Blue Alert shouldn’t be missed. The video also includes clips from Anjani’s performances.