(Music sections have been re-edited)
In the past many years, almost every recording artist has sung Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah. It’s an extremely poetic look at the mess the world that resolves at the end into an affirmation of hope in spite of it all:
…. And even though it all went wrong
I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
With nothing on my tongue but “Hallelujah”
And that’s just the beginning. There’s Suzanne, So Long Maryanne, Bird On a Wire, Chelsea Hotel, Fa
mous Blue Raincoat, If It Be Your Will, I’m Your Man, Dance Me to the End of Love, Everybody Knows. And from the newest (his last) album, You Want it Darker?.
Though it may feel a little ironic, don’t leave out Democracy is Coming (To the USA).
These songs, and dozens more, have been inserted into the DNA of people all over the world. Leonard Cohen has been in a deep dialogue with us for some fifty years. He brings a profound spirituality to his work – and hence to us –
that can be earthshaking.
Leonard Cohen was raised Jewish. Though his songs are sprinkled with Christian imagery and he was a Buddhist monk for several years, his Jewish heart is the well from which he drew his songs.
A couple of weeks ago, B’nai Jeshurun, a large and very progressive synagogue in the Upper West Side of New York, presented an evening of Cohen’s songs, near his first yahrzeit – the first anniversary of his death. Jews commemorate lost loved ones each year on this anniversary. The first year is particularly important because the gravestone is unveiled (there
is no stone for the first year).
So today, on Tuesday, November 7, the anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s death on the evening before the election that brought us Donald Trump, Love in a Dangerous Time presents you with a discussion of Cohen with the organizers of the event at B’nai Jeshurun. Guitarist, Dan Nadel and singer, Shira Averbuch. They led a four-piece band and five singers in the joyous and grateful event, and continued the experience with me here in this insightful interview. To make the whole thing even more wonderful, they performed two songs from the event in the Love in a Dangerous Times studio.
There are lots of links to more info on Leonard Cohen and some of his songs. So you can dive in and really get to know him. Please comment below, or post at Love in a Dangerous Time Community on Facebook, and list your favorite Leonard Cohen songs.
Speaking of favorite song, mine is Anthem. I still get shivers every time I hear Cohen, or anyone else, say:
There’s a crack in everything.
That’s how the light gets in.
• Leonard Cohen’s website: http://www.leonardcohen.com/links
• Dan’s website – https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/dannadel
• Shira’s website – https://www.shiraofficial.com
• Aubrey Glazer’s Amazon Author Page
• David Remnick, Leonard Cohen Makes it Darker, The New Yorker, October 17, 2016
An excellent, mostly biographical, article.
• Rabbi Jonathan Sacks on Leonard Cohen and parsha Vayera – a profound analysis of the title song from Cohen’s last album, “You Want It Darker?” Sacks is the former Chief Rabbi of the UK.
• “You Want It Darker?” – audio of the song, from the album
• “You Want it Darker?” – album on Amazon
• Malcolm Gladwell – Revisionist History podcast,
Season 1, Episode 7 – “Hallelujah” A fascinating study of how a song “becomes” great.
All of Gladwell’s podcasts are fantastic.Follow Us