Category Archives: Leonard Cohen

Listen To A Young Leonard Cohen Recite His Poetry, Sing His Songs, Give Interviews On CBC’s Various Positions (Part 1)

Michael Reichmann2

From the CBC site:

The first of two programs produced and presented by Philip Coulter that chart the life and career of one of Canada’s most enduring singer/songwriters, Leonard Cohen. Part one, Magic is Alive, takes us from Cohen’s first appearance on the Montreal scene in the 50′s up to the release of the first albums – Songs of Leonard Cohen and Songs from a Room in the late 60′s. It explores how his early poetry writing lead almost inevitably to the songs. Listen for Leonard the stand-up comic, and Leonard the hipster, reciting poetry over cool jazz in a 1950′s Montreal club!

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The embedded player starts automatically so it has been moved to the page below.

Listen to Part 1 at Inside The Music: Various Positions: Leonard Cohen In His Own Words – Part 1

Update: Listen to Part 2 of this program at Part 2 Of Inside The Music: Various Positions: Leonard Cohen In His Own Words

Like any great artist Leonard Cohen took the tools he had and created something new- a unique form of popular song, with all the aspiration of poetry, expressing the deepest yearnings of the human heart. For his entire career, over fifty years, Leonard Cohen has been on Canada’s radar- which is to say, he’s been a star since the very beginning. He was discovered early on by the CBC. Over all those years, across half a century, Leonard Cohen has been on countless CBC programs, on both radio and television, and always talking in full sentences. He’s recited his poetry and performed his songs for the CBC microphones; interviewers have asked him every conceivable question. It’s fair to say that on the CBC Leonard Cohen has produced a kind of running commentary on his own life and work while all this is still in progress. Deep in the CBC vaults are the many recordings of Leonard Cohen performances and conversations- a treasure-trove, a family album of snapshots that create a unique portrait, in real time, of the evolution of a major artist- in his own words. And it’s these archival recordings that go to make up these two programs.

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post taken by Michael Reichmann

Video: Leonard Cohen On The High Price Of His Concert Tickets – 1970

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Leonard Cohen On Tour 1970

Part of Leonard Cohen’s stage routine during the 2013 Tour was thanking those in the front rows, some of whom paid $150-200 for a ticket, for thus “endangering the family budget.” It wasn’t the first time the price of admission to his shows was broached. The reporter in this 1970 video questions the Canadian singer-songwriter about the high cost of his tickets.

Based on the August 1, 1970 date of this video,1 the French setting, the reference to a “festival” in the original blurb, and the focus on cost, it seems likely that the appearance referenced in the interview is Cohen’s Aug 2, 1970 show at the Aix-en-Provence Festival – an especially weird event that took place during the weirdness that was the 1970 Tour. For an overview of that concert, see Leonard Cohen At The 1970 Aix-en-Provence Festival – Maoists, Music, Mud, Money, & Mayhem

The total three-day Aix Festival admission fee was  55 francs (about $12 US), not adjusted for inflation. According to a concert summary by Jacques Vassal published in the September 1970 edition (#44) of Rock & Folk, Leonard Cohen received 35,000 dollars (US) for his two hour concert on August 2, 1970 of the Festival.

“COHEN, Leonard: resta près de deux heures sur scène (35000 dollars valaient bien ça!)”.
“COHEN, Leonard: remained nearly two hours on stage (35000 dollards was well worth it!)”.

The Video

Since the video is in French and the majority of this blog’s readers are English-speaking, providing a spoiler revealing the punchline of the piece is unfortunately necessary. It’s still fun watching Cohen responding to the question in the short (under one minute) clip.

The original description of the film follows:

Léonard COHEN est vivement apostrophé à sa descente d’avion à propos du coût exorbitant de ses cachets et donc du prix des places dans un festival. “Vous êtes obligés d’avoir des cachets si chers ?”Léonard COHEN : “non, je ne suis pas obligé, c’est un plaisir”.

Coco Éclair provides an English translation:

Leonard Cohen is accosted when getting off his plane about the exorbitant cost of his tickets and hence the price of the seats for the concert. “Are you obligated to have such expensive fees?” Leonard Cohen: “No, I am not obligated, it is a pleasure.”

Leonard Cohen À Propos Des Gros Cachets
[Leonard Cohen About Big Fees]
Aug 1, 1970
Note: The first few seconds appear to be from another feature altogether.

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Dominique BOILE for the information re Cohen’s fee for the concert.

  1. The dates given for videos have not proven reliable in all cases. Caveat emptor and all that. []

I Came To Love – New CD By Anjani Thomas – To Be Released May 2014

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I Came To Love To Include Three New Songs Co-Written With Leonard Cohen

From Anjani’s website:

I Came To Love, a new release from Anjani Thomas, heralds the next chapter for the accomplished singer-songwriter.  This ten-song collection chronicles the path of the heart through passion, jeopardy, and ultimately love, all revealed through Anjani’s fluid and mesmerizing sound.

Picking up where the critically acclaimed Blue Alert left off, Anjani sets the tone with the album’s title track: i came to love as a novice / with an aim to learn… now I love as a woman / sure of what she sings. With vocal nuances and impeccable phrasing, Anjani establishes a startlingly intimate connection with the listener: she’s not singing to you, she is touching what’s inside of you.

Anjani’s creative partnerships have always been unerringly honed, and it is no exception with the assembly of pros on this recording. Jerry Marotta (Peter Gabriel), acts as producer and percussionist on five tracks, building potent rhythms on “Weather A Storm With You,” and the mysteriously moody “Standing On The Stairs”.  Toronto producers Rob Piltch and Jonathan Goldsmith sync a hypnotic trance groove on “Holy Ground”: my lover stands on holy ground/in a scarred and barren field/where my weakness is revealed/he holds space for me to heal.

“Love In Between” features country music giant Larry Campbell (Bob Dylan, Levon Helm) on guitars and fiddle; while renowned flamenco guitarist Pavlo takes a passionate solo turn on “Love Be A River.”  For her longtime fans, Anjani reprises her celebrated musical collaboration with the legendary Leonard Cohen on three new tracks, including “Song To Make Me Still,” a wistful poem sung to meditative piano accompaniment. The album wraps with a touching version of the Les Paul/Mary Ford classic “Whither Thou Goest,” with Cohen as Anjani’s duet partner.

One part biography, one part love letter, one part statement album, I Came to Love is a rich and varied musical journey.  “It took much longer than I expected to finish this record,” Anjani says, because every time I thought it was done, something tipped the balance, which compelled me to keep working until it felt complete again. Leonard told me when we started writing together in 2005 that part of the creative process is allowing for that sense of ‘Ah, now it’s right.”  It can take time for the weak spots to surface; and being patient yielded songs as nurturing to write as they are satisfying to sing. For me, it was worth the wait.”

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Videos & More: Song to Make Me Still & Standing on the Stairs

Videos of live performances of two of the new songs co-written by Anjani & Leonard Cohen, their origins, and their lyrics can be found at Anjani Thomas Performs Two Unreleased Songs Co-written With Leonard Cohen At 2013 Feast Of Cohen

Video: Leonard Cohen Recites “Since You Asked” By Judy Collins

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Judy Collins, whose early covers of Leonard Cohen songs gave his career as a singer-songwriter an impressive start, began recording her own compositions due, she has reported, to Cohen’s urging. The first album of her own songs was the 1967 Wildflowers with “Since You Asked.” In 2008, Leonard Cohen completed this cycle by performing “Since You Asked” for the Judy Collins tribute album Born To The Breed. This video joins the audio track of Leonard Cohen performing “Since You Asked” with images of Leonard Cohen and Judy Collins, separately and together.

Leonard Cohen Recites Since You Asked By Judy Collins
Video by Allan Showalter

Video: Leonard Cohen Discusses Songs From The Future, Demonstrates Komboloi Technique, Explains Effect Of Incense, …

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Leonard Cohen Gives Good Interview – Again

This 12 minute video, described in the YouTube blurb as a promotional video, from VHS, never commercially released,” contains segments from at least two different interviews, music video clips, and a few scenes, including one with Rebecca De Mornay, added for local color. The production card in the first frames carries a last revised date of Jan 4, 1993, but the interviews took place in 1992. The interviews are notable in that Cohen atypically explicates several specific songs, including Waiting For The Miracle, The Future, Closing Time, and Anthem.

The Future – Conversations with Leonard Cohen – 1993
Video from Doug Osborne

Video: Jennifer Warnes’ Way Down Deep & Leonard Cohen’s A Thousand Kisses Deep

Note: This is a reposting, justified by my profound enjoyment of both of the performances captured on this video.

Tom Sakic and I thought it would be interesting to present the earliest performed precursor of A Thousand Kisses Deep juxtaposed with the most recent version. The result is a video that opens with Jennifer Warnes singing the gorgeous but inexplicably overlooked “Way Down Deep” (credited to Jennifer Warnes, Leonard Cohen, and Amy Latelevision), which is followed by Leonard Cohen’s 2009 recitation of “A Thousand Kisses Deep.”

Video: From Way Down Deep By Jennifer Warnes To A Thousand Kisses Deep By Leonard Cohen

Jennifer Warnes – Way Down Deep
From The Hunter: 1992
Leonard Cohen – A Thousand Kisses Deep
Dublin: July 20, 2009
Video by Allan Showalter

Credit Due Department: The photo atop this post is by Claude Gassian. Contributed by Dominique BOILE