Tag Archives: Prince Of Asturias Award

New Video, Photos, Transcript – Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Awards Speech Oct 21, 2011

Photos: Leonard Cohen at Oct 21, 2011  Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

Click on images for best viewing

Leonard Cohen with Princess of Asturias

Leonard Cohen's fedora left on chair during his talk

Video: Leonard Cohen at Oct 21, 2011  Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

Update: An improved video of this event with most of the Spanish overdubbing removed can be found at  Leonard Cohen’s Prince of Asturias Awards Speech – Direct Transcript & Enhanced English Video

Transcript: Leonard Cohen at Oct 21, 2011  Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

Update: The transcript below is a Spanish translation of Cohen’s talk re-translated into English by Google Translation.  An improved, direct transcript of this speech can be found at  Leonard Cohen’s Prince of Asturias Awards Speech – Direct Transcript & Enhanced English Video

From El Pais [Google English translation]:

It is an honor to be here tonight, but perhaps, as the great master Riccardo Muti, I’m not used to be before an audience without an orchestra behind. I will do my solo. I could not sleep last night, I spent a sleepless night wondering what I could say here today. After eating all the chocolate and peanuts from the minibar scribbled a few words but I doubt it takes to refer to them. Obviously, I’m very excited about the recognition of the foundation. But I have come tonight to express another kind of gratitude that I hope to have three or four minutes.

When I was packing up in Los Angeles I felt uneasy because I have always been some ambiguity about poetry. Comes from a place that no one controls, that no conquest. That is, if he knew where the songs would come more often. Accepting an award for an activity that does not really control it. Packing up to come, I took my guitar Conde, made in Spain 40 years ago or so. The out of the box and seemed made of helium, very light. I put it in the face and smelled it, is very well designed, the fragrance of living wood. We know that wood just never die and it smelled like cedar, so cool, like the first day, when I bought the guitar for 40 years. And a voice seemed to say: “You’re an old man and have not thanked you have not returned your gratitude to those who deserve it: soil, land, the people who gave you so much. For just as a man is not a ID card, a debt rating is not a country. You know of my strong association with Federico Garcia Lorca and I can say that while I was young and adolescent not only found a voice and when I read Lorca in a translation, I found a voice gave permission to discover my own voice, to find my self, a self that is not yet finished.

As I got older I knew that the instructions came with that voice. What were those instructions? Never regret. And if we want to express the loss we all attacks must be in the strict confines of the dignity and beauty. So you had a voice, but he had the instrument to express it. I had a song. And now I will tell briefly the story of how I got my song.

I was a guitarist indifferent. I only knew a few chords. I sat with my friends, drank and sang, but never saw myself as a musician or a singer. One day, in the early sixties, was visiting my mother. His home was near a park with a tennis court where we would watch them play basketball. It was a place I knew from my childhood. I wandered around and met a young woman playing a flamenco guitar. I loved it, was surrounded by some girls and I sat down to listen, captivated me, I wanted to play well, but I knew I would never make.

I approached him and we understood half French half English and we agreed some classes at my mother. He was a young Spanish. The next day came. He said, “Let me hear you play something.” I did and said he had no idea. He picked up the guitar, tuned it, I returned it and said, “does not sound bad. Now touch it again.” Not change much. He grabbed me again and said, “I’ll teach you a few chords.” He played a rapid sequence of chords and then I explained where I had to put my fingers and said again: “Now playing”. But it was a disaster.

The next day began again with the six chords. Many flamenco songs based on them. On the third day it keeps getting better. I learned six chords. The next day the guitarist did not return at home. Stopped coming. Since I had the number of the boarding house where he was staying went looking to see what had happened. They told me that he had killed himself Spanish, who had killed himself. I did not know anything about him, what part of Spain was why he was in Montreal for what was at the tennis court, why he killed himself.

I felt a great sadness. We have never had this in public. The six chords, the sound pattern has been the basis of all my songs and my music and maybe now they can begin to understand the magnitude of appreciation I have for this country. All you have found favor in my work comes from this story I just told you. All my work is inspired by this land. So thank you for holding it because it is his, I only have allowed to put my signature at the end of the last page.

Credit Due Department:

I was alerted to the transcript of Leonard Cohen’s speech (in Spanish) by Chema


  • Leonard Cohen at podium: El Pais
  • Leonard Cohen seated: Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images
  • Leonard Cohen with the Princess of Asturias: Agencia EFE
  • Leonard Cohen bowing after receiving the award: Reuters
  • Leonard Cohen with hat in hand in front of laureates: FPA
  • Leonard Cohen with hat in hand on walkway: Agencia EFE
  • Leonard Cohen walking away with award: El Imparcial

Video – Leonard Cohen Speaks At Today’s Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

Update 22 October 2011: An improved version of this video, along with photos and an imperfect transcript [Google translation of Spanish transcript] of the speech, is now available at New Video, Photos, Transcript – Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Awards Speech Oct 21, 2011

Thanks to Hermitage Prisoner, we already have this video of Leonard Cohen’s speech at the Prince of Asturias Awards ceremony held 21 October 2011.

Photos – Leonard Cohen, Prince Of Pain, Receives Prince of Asturias Award

All images are screenshots from the RTVE broadcast of the Prince of Asturias Awards ceremony held 21 October 2011, at which Leonard Cohen spoke.

More photos are available at Photos – Prince of Asturias Award Bestowed On Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Moved To Applause, Tears By Prince of Asturias Award Tribute In Gijón

Leonard Cohen Lauded With Music Poetry, Video, Love

Last night, Leonard Cohen continued his preeminent role during the ceremonies surrounding the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards, attending a concert in his honor at the Jovellanos Theatre in Gijón which featured  Nacho Vegas, Duquende, the Webb Sisters, Lorca Cohen,  Javier Mas, and others.

Leonard Cohen tribute concert (by Meritxell, Spanish Cohen Brigade)

Leonard Cohen tribute concert in Gijón (screen capture)

Gijón tribute concert for Leonard Cohen (screen capture)

Text excerpts from Emotional tribute to Leonard Cohen in Gijón (ThinkSpain, October 20, 2011) describe the concert:

… the theatre in Gijón gave Cohen a warm reception and a standing ovation that lasted for several minutes, which Cohen acknowledged by raising his hat to the crowd.

Standing ovation at opening of Leonard Cohen tribute concert (screen capture)

Leonard Cohen responds to standing ovation (screen capture)

The tribute began with “Backstage Sketch”, a short video by Lorca Cohen, the Canadian artist’s daughter, and included a documentary “Songs from the road”, in which all the members of Cohen’s band related their experiences of life on the road with the great man.

Professor Andrés Amorós, a member of the Prince of Asturias prize jury, recited a number of Cohen’s poems and songs, translated into Spanish, accompanied by guitars and the voices of the “Webb Sisters”.

Amorós said: “His poetry has taken us to the most absolute sadness, melancholy, and to tenderness. The curious thing is, that when he talks about himself, he talks about all of us, it’s just that we don’t know how to express it like he does”.

Leonard Cohen doffs hat to audience at Gijón tribute concert

 Laura García Lorca, niece of the poeta Federico García Lorca, also paid homage to Cohen, calling him “the best ambassador” her uncle could have in the world. She expressed her “gratitude and emotion” to Cohen for having brought her uncle’s poetry to so many people.

 The emotional climax of  the evening was audience clapping along with the playing of Cohen’s classic, So Long, Marianne, the combination of which brought the Canadian singer-songwriter to tears.

Update 20 October 2011; 10:24 AM EST:  Photos of Leonard Cohen attending the opening of Leonard Cohen: The B-Side – Drawings And Engravings Of A Multidisciplinary Artist earlier today (20 October 2011)  are now available. The exhibition of his prints at the University of Oviedo Humanities Campus is part of the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony. The photos can be viewed at DrHGuy – Leonard Cohen Attends Exhibit Of His Prints

Video: Leonard Cohen – Prince of Asturias Awards

RTVE’s coverage of the Prince of Asturias Awards includes videos featuring clips of Leonard Cohen. These cannot be embedded but can be viewed at the RTVE site:

Credit Due Department: DrHGuy offers a special thanks to Meritxell of the Spanish Cohen Brigade, who supplied the first photo of the concert performers in this post and who first informed Heck Of A Guy of Cohen’s response to the concert. The photo atop this post is by Angel Gonzalez for lne.es.  The shot of a tearful Leonard Cohen wiping his eyes and the photo of Cohen tipping his hat were taken by Eloy Alonso for Reiters.

Leonard Cohen In Oviedo – Prince of Asturias Awards Press Conference Video Now Online

The News From Spain – Leonard Cohen Arrives

Leonard Cohen’s arrival in Oviedo for the Prince of Asturias Awards saturates the Spanish press.  Even the Society section of Lne.es carried the heading (as translated into English by Google), “Leonard Cohen Oviedo greeted with calm and polite style.”1 Click on image to enlarge.

See more arrival photos at Leonard Cohen Arrives In Oviedo – But Where Is The Famous Blue Sharpie?

Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Awards Press Conference

The press conference centers, as one might expect on such an occasion, on Cohen’s perspective on poetry and songwriting, his fascination with the poet Frederico Garcia Lorca, and other aspects of the fine arts.

Update: Photos of the Leonard Cohen press conference can now be viewed at Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Awards Press Conference Photos

Leonard Cohen Press Conference (screen capture)

While Cohen, appearing fatigued, answers queries in English, the Spanish overdubbing sometimes obscures his responses. With attention, however, one can comprehend the gist of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s words.

A weary looking Leonard Cohen answers questions from the press (screen capture)

Update: The video is back online.  One can also listen to an audio recording of the press conference at Listen To Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Awards Press Conference.

Credit Due Department: Photos by Ivan Martinez/FPA

  1. The “calm and polite style” does explain why Cohen was greeted with pipers rather than, say, a brass band or a 21 gun salute. []

Leonard Cohen Is 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony Centerpiece

The Cat In The Hat Is Back – On Center Stage

If there were any doubt that Leonard Cohen is the focus of the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony, the front page of the Prince of Asturias Foundation website, displayed in the above screen capture taken this morning (click on image  to enlarge),  should resolve that uncertainty.  The guy in the fedora in the big center section? That would be Mr. Cohen.  The other laureates are shown in sequence in the smaller frame at the upper right of the image.1

There is more. The following press release is from that same Prince of Asturias Foundation website:

Leonard Cohen, Arturo Álvarez-Buylla and Riccardo Muti to deliver speeches at the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony

The event is to take place on Friday 21st October at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo.

Leonard Cohen, Prince of Asturias Award for Literature; Arturo Álvarez-Buylla, one of the three laureates of the Prince of Asturias Award for Technical and Scientific Research; and Riccardo Muti, Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts, will deliver speeches at the 31st  Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony. The event is to take place on Friday 21st October at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo.

The Foundation’s President, Matías Rodríguez Inciarte, and H.R.H. the Prince of Asturias will also deliver speeches during the ceremony.

A simultaneous translation service in five languages will be provided for the awards ceremony at the Campoamor Theatre. The Prince of Asturias Foundation will provide 1,600 receivers to the audience. Those attending the event may listen to the laureates’ speeches in English, French, Italian and Japanese, as well as in Spanish.

Schedule: Leonard Cohen Tribute & Art Exhibit

Graphic is from Programme page of Prince Of Asturias Foundation Site

From Programme of cultural events involving the Laureates during the days prior to the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony:

8:00 PM on Wednesday, 19 October, 2011:  A Tribute to Leonard Cohen. With the participation of the Spanish guitarist Javier Mas and the Webb Sisters, who accompany Cohen on tour, the Spanish singer-songwriter Nacho Vegas, the flamenco singer Duquende, the Irish singer and guitarist Glen Hansard and the Prince of Asturias Foundation Youth Choir. Also featuring Andrés Amorós and Laura García Lorca.

12:30 PM on Thursday, 20 October 2011: Opening of the exhibition of prints by Leonard Cohen, entitled “Leonard Cohen. The B-side. Drawings and engravings of a multidisciplinary artist”. The exhibition will be open to the public until 13th November.

Schedule: Leonard Cohen Press Conference – Oct 19, 2011

And again, from the same site:

Press conferences with the Laureates

During their stay in Asturias, the 2011 Prince of Asturias Awards Laureates will attend a series of events as well as meeting the press on a number of occasions. … All press conferences will be held in the “Salón de Proyecciones” at the Reconquista Hotel (entrance c/ Arquitecto Reguera).

Wednesday, 19th October at 12 noon: Leonard Cohen. Prince of Asturias Award Laureate for Letters

Leonard Cohen Events To Be Broadcast On TV, Radio, & Internet

And on yet  another page of the Prince of Asturias Foundation website is the news that

  • All the press conferences given by the laureates will be broadcast over the Foundation’s website.
  • The Spanish public service television and radio companies Televisión Española (TVE) and Radio Nacional de España (RNE) will be responsible for providing the official host signal for the Prince of Asturias Awards Ceremony, which is to be held on Friday, 21st October starting at 6.30 p.m. at the Campoamor Theatre in Oviedo. TVE will also be providing the television signal for the audience of T.R.H. the Prince and Princess of Asturias with the Laureates this coming Friday at 12.30 p.m. at the Reconquista Hotel’s Salón Covadonga. RNE will provide the audio signal from the dressing rooms in the Campoamor Theatre to all the radio networks, while TVE will distribute the television signal.
  • The Foundation will facilitate the signal to all those media interested in covering … the tribute to Leonard Cohen, 2011 Prince of Asturias Award for Literature, which will be held on Wednesday, 19th October at 8.00 p.m. at the Jovellanos Theatre in Gijón.

And Don’t Forget The Leonard Cohen Video

Posted earlier today for viewing is the Official Video – Leonard Cohen Prince of Asturias Award for Letters.

  1. Award ceremonies are not always so kind to the Canadian singer-songwriter.  For comparison, see Grammys Award Leonard Cohen 30 Seconds Of Faint Praise For Lifetime Of Superb Achievement []