Category Archives: Anjani Thomas

Leonard Cohen, Anjani, Blue Alert, And More In Telegraph Article

Cohen – With A Dash Of Honey

“Life Of A Ladies’ Man”1 wasn’t the only newspaper Arts section story about Leonard Cohen published on 26 May 2007. Cohen – with a dash of honey, a straight-forward feature story by Neil McCormick in the Telegraph, focuses on the relationship and mutual musical efforts of Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas.

The tale of the creation of Blue Alert is well written, and while the story has previously appeared in other publications, this article includes a number of details that were new to me (although they may well be in print somewhere).

As a bonus, there is timely news about the upcoming Leonard Cohen album:

Cohen has been working on his own album (released later this year), and admirers will be pleased to hear that he has responded to Anjani’s more organic recording methods, abandoning the synths and drum machines of recent years to return to the joys of real instrumentation: “He has picked up the guitar again, and swung around to the idea of bringing in people to play.”

In contrast to Blue Alert, however, the subject matter is unlikely to be the human heart. “No one describes pain, loss, despair and grief as well as Leonard does. But it’s not where his intention is right now. The material he is choosing is much more social commentary-driven, which makes this record kind of a miracle, because without it these songs wouldn’t have been born.”

The Telegraph article can be found at Cohen – with a dash of honey


  1. See previous post: On Considering Leonard Cohen – A Prose Poem By Sarah Hampson []

Sarah Hampson On Leonard Cohen – And Sarah Hampson

The Lady and The Ladies’ Man

The Arts section of the 26 May 2007 Globe & Mail features Life of a ladies’ man, an extensive article about Leonard Cohen by Sarah Hampson.

One could argue – and I do – that a more accurate characterization would be “an extensive article about Leonard Cohen and Sarah Hampson by Sarah Hampson.” This excerpt contains the lede and second paragraph:

The park is like a poem: self-contained and spare. Smokers sit on benches in the morning drizzle. Pigeons swoop over a small gazebo, under the limbs of stately trees. There is a solemn-looking house, three storeys high with a grey stone facade. It’s the only one that faces this park in the east end of Montreal, and it’s his. There are two big front doors, side by side. No numbers. No bell. No indication which one is right. You just pick, and knock.

There is more than one way into the world of Leonard Cohen, and on this day in late April, they are all open.

The article continues like this for another 3531 words, if my word processor’s statistics function is accurate.

It seems like more.

The article is replete with Ms Hampson’s self-references, thinly and annoyingly veiled by the pseudo-second person voice1 the author affects, perhaps in a failed attempt to camouflage the narcissistic taint of her writing that would be blatantly apparent in a conventional first person narrative.2

He [Cohen] will entrance you in the stillness of a moment that stretches to five hours, and in the end, because you happened to ask, playfully, he will say sure, come back any time for a soak in the claw-footed tub, one of several in his house, that sits in a closet of a bathroom under the slope of the stairs.

One can imagine my disappointment that the next paragraph did not, as I anticipated, begin “You feel pretty, Oh, so pretty, You feel pretty and witty and bright!”

The reader is treated to profundities such as

Every question, he greets like an invitation to make himself understood. Leonard Cohen, the icon, is a concept he likes to toy with, as if it is both him and not.

Translated into prose, these sentences (I think) become When asked what kind of person he is, Leonard Cohen responds with answers about what kind of person he thinks he is. And, he is willing to talk about the difference between the role he plays as a performer and his role as a private individual.

Allusions to a special, shared intimacy stud the paragraphs.

Don’t ask how the subject of casual sex in the sixties came up. It was part of the unfolding of the Saturday afternoon, the laziness of it, like an endless meal of many courses, which you keep expecting to end but never does. You cover one subject, and thank him for his time, thinking he may be tired of talking now, but he doesn’t take the opportunity to say goodbye. “Here, relax, eat,” he will say. “Have more wine. Would you like a piece of cherry pie?” And then the conversation continues.

I, for one, wasn’t going to to ask “how the subject of casual sex in the sixties came up,” rendering this instruction not only rhetorical but also superfluous – oh, and irritating.

I could go on; Ms. Hampson certainly does.

And perhaps I’m just cranky today. Others may enjoy the rococo prose that finds significance in every artifact observed and every name dropped:

Over a bottle of Château Maucaillou, Greek bread, a selection of Quebec cheeses and a fresh cherry pie, bought for the occasion from the local St-Laurent Boulevard merchants, you learn that he prefers to sleep alone; that he is no longer looking for another woman; the real reason he secluded himself in a Buddhist monastery for almost five years; and that a small, faded portrait of Saint Catherine Tekakwitha, the 17th-century native woman and heroine of his novel Beautiful Losers, hangs on the wall in his kitchen, above a table holding a fifties radio and a telephone with on oversize dial pad.

In any case, there are some interesting tidbits and numerous Leonard Cohen quotes that make feeling ones way through this barrel of stylistic molasses worthwhile.3

Diabetics, however, may wish to increase their insulin dosage before beginning the piece.

end3

Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names
Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well.

  1. The article does lapse into first person in at least one instance: “If you could have it [sex] so much,” I ask, “didn’t that devalue it?” The implications of that query being written in a different voice than the others are too discomforting to contemplate. []
  2. Narratives written from a second person point of view are notoriously difficult to construct but, if successful, reward that investment by engaging the reader intimately into the moment being described. Italo Calvino’s If On A Winter’s Night A Traveler is a prime example. The brittle version of second person used in this article is to Calvino’s masterful implementation of second person as Lean Cuisine is to a seven course Degustation at Charlie Trotter’s – if the Lean Cuisine is still frozen. []
  3. Criticisms of this sort inevitably compel someone to issue a challenge along the lines of “Think you could do better?” For the record, if the question is “could I write a better essay on Leonard Cohen,” the answer is “Yep.” To be fair, however, I doubt that I could write as wondrous a panegyric to Sarah Hampson []

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Duets Video

Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani At Joe’s Pub, New York

Dick Straub, who shares with me a sojourn in Oklahoma, an admiration of John Irving, and a passion for the music of Leonard Cohen & Anjani1 has passed along this link to the video of the recent performance of the duets, Never Got to Love You and Whither Thou Goest, at the “Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani” concert at Joe’s Pub in New York.

Never Got To Love You and Whither Thou Goest

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post and several other equally striking shots from the Joe’s Pub performance can be found at BrooklynVegan

  1. Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names: Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well. []

Never Got To Love You – Another Leonard Cohen-Anjani Duet You (Probably) Haven't Heard

From Anjani’s 31 March 2007 Warsaw Concert

Leonard Cohen and Anjani1 Sing Never Got To Love You

The Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani Warsaw Concert consists of Anjani’s solo performances of seven songs from Blue Alert and two duets featuring her and Leonard Cohen.

One of those duets, Whither Thou Goest, closes the program and was posted on this site on 2 April 2007 in The Best Leonard Cohen – Anjani Duet You’ve (Probably) Never Heard.

The other Warsaw Concert duet is Never Got To Love You, which is, of course, sung by Anjani alone on the Blue Alert album. While I am profoundly moved by Whither Thou Goest, by what it evokes from my own life as well as by the performance itself,  Never Got To Love You is an alluring, powerful musical statement of longing, sadness, and personal courage in the face of unfulfilled hope.

Anjani and Leonard Cohen – Never Got To Love You

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.

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DrHGuy-Anjani Flirtation, Leonard Cohen Adulation , & Anjani’s Warsaw Concert Coverage

The road to the Heck Of A Guy Warsaw Concert posts began last July when I wrote a heartfelt, adoring review of Blue Alert.

In addition to an erudite musicological analysis, that post also included references (also heartfelt and adoring as all get-out, if arguably tinged with a tad of smart-aleckedness) to the nature of the relationship between “Lenny & Anji,” the similarity between my serendipitous discovery of the Blue Alert album and the blind date that led to the catastrophe known as my first marriage, and my fantasy of simultaneously bedding Anjani and two other female singers.2

I became a tad anxious when I noticed that the first comment to that post was from Anjani herself. As it turned out, however, Anjani, naturally enough, was smitten by my epistolary charm, and there ensued an cyber-exchange of bantering repartee, provocative challenges and parries, sexual innuendo, and general all-around snarkiness, in which Anjanikins gave as good as she got. The dramatic arc and the pertinent posts are described in Anjani And DrHGuy FAQ.

The second necessary element is the series of posts on Leonard Cohen I’ve sporadically published under the oddly appropriate Leonard Cohen category heading. Because the important material about his life and work was already obsessively covered by the uber-fans of the web-ring sites dedicated to Leonard Cohen, my blog entries have typically focused on isolated, tangential – or confabulated – points. Characteristic examples from this group include the use of Cohen’s music in movies about strippers, the Dance Me To The End Of Love video starring Quentin Tarantino, Cohen singing Elvis’s Rolls Royce and my personal favorite, 10 Fake Items About Leonard Cohen.

A rare (i.e., nonexistent) photo of Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley, and Elvis's Rolls Royce.

I had also written about my odyssey tracking down the rare recording of Cohen’s Do I Have To Dance All Night, AKA The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard. That post attracted the attention and interest of Apolinary POlek, that self-same individual who was the Heck Of A Guy Polish Connection for this Concert (see below). Simple, eh?

Today’s post is part of the sequence of Heck Of A Guy blog entries dealing with the Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani concert that took place at the Agnieszka Osiecka Studio in Warsaw, Poland on 31 March 2007 and was broadcast live on Trójka Radio. Apolinary POlek alerted readers to the availability of the broadcast and provided links to photos and a recording of the pre-concert interview with Anjani and Cohen on the Trójka Radio site; he has also graciously shared his recordings of the concert itself.
Previous Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani Posts:

A Request
I would appreciate it if links to the Heck Of A Guy blog identified it by name and used the post’s permalink rather than a tinyurl or some other modified URL. Alternative forms of gratitude and compensation, including cash, negotiable bonds, jewels, precious metals, free lawn care, home-cooked meals, and Italian villas are also acceptable, but offering appropriate credit seems simpler and would be fully satisfactory.

  1. Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names: >Anjaniand Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well. []
  2. The identities of the two other singers became a matter of negotiation between Anjani and me, shifting among permutations of Tanita Tikaram, Holly Cole, Tina Turner, and Joan Jett, among others. []

Tomorrow: The Other Leonard Cohen – Anjani Duet

One More Post From The Warsaw Concert

As a result of multiple requests, a number of those always enjoyable obsequious pleas, and a couple of suggestions that may have edged over the line into the territory of threats, I plan to post one more selection from the Anjani – Leonard Cohen Warsaw concert.

The song, Never Got To Love You, is sung as a duet by Anjani and Leonard Cohen.

Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, Never Got To Love You will be available here tomorrow morning.

________________________


Heck Of A Guy Coverage Of Anjani’s Warsaw Concert

This post is part of the sequence of Heck Of A Guy blog entries dealing with the Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani concert that took place at the Agnieszka Osiecka Studio in Warsaw, Poland on 31 March 2007 and was broadcast live on Trójka Radio. Apolinary POlek alerted readers to the availability of the broadcast and provided links to photos and a recording of the pre-concert interview with Anjani and Cohen on the Trójka Radio site; he has also graciously shared his recordings of the concert itself.

Previous Posts

Later Posts



A Request
I would appreciate it if links to the Heck Of A Guy blog identified it by name and used the post’s permalink rather than a tinyurl or some other modified URL. Alternative forms of gratitude and compensation, including cash, negotiable bonds, jewels, precious metals, free lawn care, home-cooked meals, and Italian villas are also acceptable, but offering appropriate credit seems simpler and would be fully satisfactory.


____________________________

Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names
Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well.


Whither Thou Goest – The Best Leonard Cohen-Anjani Duet You (Probably) Haven't Heard

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Duet

Leonard Cohen & Anjani Perform1 Whither Thou Goest

While I had planned to upload the songs from Anjani’s 31 March 2007 Warsaw Concert (See next section, Heck Of A Guy Coverage Of Anjani’s Warsaw Concert for more information) yesterday, it took longer than expected for me to access the files.

Upon consideration, I’ve decided to now post only one musical offering, Whither Thou Goest. The other songs are, in my estimation, wonderful, but they are wonderful versions of tracks on the readily available Blue Alert album.

Whither Thou Goest, however, is not on any album2 although it was often used by Cohen,3 who sang it a capella with other band members, as a concluding benediction to many of the concerts of his 1988 and 1993 tours.4

A more tactical and pertinent motivation to post only this song is to avoid detracting attention from this piece.5 It is a quiet affirmation of affection and commitment which could be obscured by more dynamic productions – and it shouldn’t have to compete in such an arena.6 The impact of “I love you deeply and will be with you wherever you go and whatever happens” is not enhanced by being shouted.

The lyrics of Whither Thou Goest are derived from Ruth 1:16-17, which is the brave and loving vow Ruth, a widow, makes to follow Naomi, who had been her mother-in-law, even though that meant leaving her own country and family.7 The King James Version of that scripture with Ruth’s pledge follows:

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

This canticle, its intonations a particularly good fit with Cohen’s voice and phrasings, has been resurrected for the current concert tour with Cohen joining Anjani on stage for this final song.

And, although Whither Thou Goest continues to serve as a farewell blessing to the audience, now it is also a strikingly tender and paradoxically intimate love song between the two musicians.

Leonard Cohen and Anjani – Whither Thou Goest

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.

end3

DrHGuy-Anjani Flirtation, Leonard Cohen Adulation , & Anjani’s Warsaw Concert Coverage

The road to the Heck Of A Guy Warsaw Concert posts began last July when I wrote a heartfelt, adoring review of Blue Alert.

In addition to an erudite musicological analysis, that post also included references (also heartfelt and adoring as all get-out, if arguably tinged with a tad of smart-aleckedness) to the nature of the relationship between “Lenny & Anji,” the similarity between my serendipitous discovery of the Blue Alert album and the blind date that led to the catastrophe known as my first marriage, and my fantasy of simultaneously bedding Anjani and two other female singers.8

I became a tad anxious when I noticed that the first comment to that post was from Anjani herself. As it turned out, however, Anjani, naturally enough, was smitten by my epistolary charm, and there ensued an cyber-exchange of bantering repartee, provocative challenges and parries, sexual innuendo, and general all-around snarkiness, in which Anjanikins gave as good as she got. The dramatic arc and the pertinent posts are described in Anjani And DrHGuy FAQ.

The second necessary element is the series of posts on Leonard Cohen I’ve sporadically published under the oddly appropriate Leonard Cohen category heading. Because the important material about his life and work was already obsessively covered by the uber-fans of the web-ring sites dedicated to Leonard Cohen, my blog entries have typically focused on isolated, tangential – or confabulated – points. Characteristic examples from this group include the use of Cohen’s music in movies about strippers, the Dance Me To The End Of Love video starring Quentin Tarantino, Cohen singing Elvis’s Rolls Royce and my personal favorite, 10 Fake Items About Leonard Cohen.

A rare (i.e., nonexistent) photo of Leonard Cohen, Elvis Presley, and Elvis's Rolls Royce.

I had also written about my odyssey tracking down the rare recording of Cohen’s Do I Have To Dance All Night, AKA The Best Leonard Cohen Song You’ve (Probably) Never Heard. That post attracted the attention and interest of Apolinary POlek, that self-same individual who was the Heck Of A Guy Polish Connection for this Concert (see below). Simple, eh?

Today’s post is part of the sequence of Heck Of A Guy blog entries dealing with the Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani concert that took place at the Agnieszka Osiecka Studio in Warsaw, Poland on 31 March 2007 and was broadcast live on Trójka Radio. Apolinary POlek alerted readers to the availability of the broadcast and provided links to photos and a recording of the pre-concert interview with Anjani and Cohen on the Trójka Radio site; he has also graciously shared his recordings of the concert itself.

Previous Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani Posts:

Later Posts

A Request
I would appreciate it if links to the Heck Of A Guy blog identified it by name and used the post’s permalink rather than a tinyurl or some other modified URL. Alternative forms of gratitude and compensation, including cash, negotiable bonds, jewels, precious metals, free lawn care, home-cooked meals, and Italian villas are also acceptable, but offering appropriate credit seems simpler and would be fully satisfactory.

____________________________

  1. Anjani and Anjani Thomas: An Aside On Names: Anjani and Anjani Thomas are, for the purposes of the Heck of a Guy blog, synonymous names, both of which refer to the exotically lovely, dulcet-voiced singer best known for her Blue Alert CD and her long-term relationship with Leonard Cohen. I include this clarification on posts about Anjani-Anjani Thomas in part for the purpose of what the folks at Wikipedia call disambiguation (i.e., to positively identify for the reader and remove any doubts the reader might have about which Anjani of all the possible Anjanis is being discussed) and in part to aid and abet the search engines. While a rose is, famously, a rose is a rose, a “tea rose,” for example, is not exactly the same as a “rose” – especially to a search engine. Searches that include “Anjani” as part of the search terms may not produce the same results as the same search terms other with “Anjani Thomas” substituted for “Anjani.” Should any other Anjani, say one who has not produced a CD called “Blue Alert” or one who has not been associated with Leonard Cohen for the decade, I promise to do my best to make that identification clear as well. []
  2. The statistically accurate but confusingly non-absolute title of this post, The Best Leonard Cohen – Anjani Duet You’ve (Probably) Never Heard references the following: (1) Darn few of us have heard any Leonard Cohen – Anjani duets (Anjani singing backup doesn’t count – because I say it doesn’t count, that’s why), (2) The song featured today has been performed as a Leonard Cohen – Anjani duet only in a few venues and before relatively small audiences (other than the 31 March 2007 performance which was broadcast on Polish radio), and (3) Most folks in those audiences are not likely to read the Heck Of A Guy blog unless they’re slumming. []
  3. This is a correction from the original post. I had thought Leonard Cohen had himself adapted “Whiter Thou Goest” from the referenced scripture in Ruth, but Apolinary POlek, who was my source for this material from the Warsaw concert astutely (and politely) points out that one Guy Singer wrote the lyrics and music in 1954. Among other sources, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whither_Thou_Goest. The correct attribution is made in concert song listing at Boston Performance. Most telling, the lyrics are almost exactly those sung by Cohen and Anjani – see Whither Thou Goest Lyrics. My apologies for the error and my thanks (again) to Apolinary POlek for the correction. []
  4. The lines, “whither thou goest / I will go,” are also found in the lyrics of Ballad of the Absent Mare []
  5. The avoidance of distractions is also the rationale for placing the recap of the Concert’s coverage in the second half of this post although logically, it might be less confusing if it were at the first. []
  6. I suspect the dynamics intrinsic to a live performance maintain an audience’s focus on the singers, especially for the official farewell song, making Whither Thou Goest an effective selection for a concert even though, as one of a group of recordings, without the involvement of senses other than hearing, it could easily be overlooked. This may, in fact, have been a factor in the decision not to include it on earlier albums. The feelings invoked by this song, however, are so intensified by the connection between Cohen and Anjani that it would be a significant loss were it not integrated into a future recording. Just a thought. []
  7. Finally, my Old Testament Survey course I took at Oklahoma Christian College almost 40 years ago is starting to pay off []
  8. The identities of the two other singers became a matter of negotiation between Anjani and me, shifting among permutations of Tanita Tikaram, Holly Cole, Tina Turner, and Joan Jett, among others. []