Leonard Has Passed Away

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by tomsakic » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:55 pm

http://www.salon.com/2016/11/19/i-alrea ... got-worse/
Saturday, Nov 19, 2016 10:30 PM UTC

I already knew Leonard Cohen was dead on Election Day — then things got worse
Our greatest poet died just before Election Day; it felt like an omen, and it was. Do you want it darker?

Bill Curry

Leonard Cohen, one of our greatest poets, died on Nov. 7 and was buried three days later, next to his parents in a cemetery in Montreal. The cause of his death was leukemia. The likely cause of the leukemia was a lifetime of smoking. In keeping with his instinct for self-effacement and regard for public dignity, his close family and friends didn’t announce his death till after his funeral. That they kept their secret three whole days bespeaks a loyalty to him and one another that nowadays is rare.

When Cohen made his haunting final album, he knew his death was not just approaching, but imminent. Physically spent, he recorded some of the vocals at his home. Knowing all that adds pungency and even a bit of his trademark irony to songs like the title track, “You Want It Darker.” It takes more than words to make a poet. The essential trait is a fierce honesty on the page, which itself demands courage of the sort he displayed in bequeathing us this final gift.

Many regard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon and Stephen Sondheim as the preeminent lyricists of the last half century; some say longer. Sondheim writes mostly about romantic love. Cohen, Dylan and Simon write a lot about romantic love, but also about spiritual longing and social injustice. Only Cohen writes about all three in the same song.

As we saw in the fuss over Dylan’s Nobel Prize, some people still view lyricists as lesser poetical beings. But of all the modern poets I know, only W.B. Yeats, a strong early influence on Cohen, wrote of the romantic, spiritual and political with as much power and penetration as Cohen. And not even Yeats revealed their intimate connection as Cohen did. “Democracy” is but one of many Cohen lyrics that connect the spiritual to the political:

It’s coming to America first
The cradle of the best and of the worst
It’s here they got the range
And the machinery for change
And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst
It’s here the family’s broken
And it’s here the lonely say
That the heart has got to open
In a fundamental way
Democracy is coming to the USA

Again, in “Anthem”:

I can’t run no more with the lawless crowd
While killers in high places say their prayers out loud
But they’ve summoned up a thunder cloud
And they’re going to hear from me
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in

No other lyricist so commingled the spiritual and the sensual. I’m not sure who else even tried. Cohen saw the divinity in desire, and conveyed it in exquisite images, as here in “Hallelujah”:

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Nobody beats Leonard at rendering the heartache of losing at love. Well, maybe Johnny Mercer, but not even Mercer could match the psychological acuity and merciless self-awareness of “Alexandra Leaving”:

As someone long prepared for the occasion
In full command of every plan you wrecked
Do not choose a coward’s explanation
that hides behind the cause and the effect

It’s not a trick, your senses all deceiving
A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost

It took critics a while to notice that beneath Cohen’s near-ostentatious melancholy lay a wry humor and deep love of life. Poets are in the business of calling our attention to the sheer wonder of our day-to-day lives. In Cohen’s early hit “Suzanne,” the line “She brings you tea and oranges/ That come all the way from China” refers to a cup of Constant Comment. Knowing that makes the tea taste better. When I heard that Leonard had died, a thought flashed in my mind: Perhaps the reason we all must die is that there’s just no other way of getting us to appreciate the sacredness of life.

By happenstance, I learned of Cohen’s death on Election Day, but could tell no one. It felt a burden and seemed an awful omen, which of course it was. But the isolation of keeping a secret is as nothing compared to the sense of isolation that befell millions that night. I fear many will now abandon politics in search of other ways to heal the world and themselves. It’s hard to see a road ahead. Much of what we must now do, we must do on faith.

Years ago, I saw a poster hanging in a union hall that read, “Every hour of every day you are in politics.” Every hour of every day we are also in love, and in need of love. If you’ve ever lost a lover or a country, listen to Leonard Cohen, poet laureate of the crestfallen, and learn how our longings, appetites and aspirations are all bound up in one another. We need a more loving politics, but also one that’s more clear-eyed and practical. Leonard had a plan for that too. First, we take Manhattan.

Bill Curry was White House counselor to President Clinton and a two-time Democratic nominee for governor of Connecticut. He is at work on a book on President Obama and the politics of populism.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by tularosa » Sun Nov 20, 2016 9:56 pm

Hi Joop, I'm glad you like this article. Yes it is moving poetry. I cried when reading. My english is very bad but I tried a google translation and it does not seem too bad, what do you think ? There it is :
Leonard Cohen was not supposed to die. Neither today, nor tomorrow, nor ever.
God was so inconsolable to have let Trump win the American presidency that Leonard Cohen, as a good son of a family, had to go and console him. This is the only explanation I find for his disappearance. Leonard Cohen was not supposed to die. Neither today, nor tomorrow, nor ever. He was the voice of the prophet, the blood of the Bible, the voice of the immemorial wisdom born on the banks of the Jordan.
He was not of age. Neither his songs. They will be heard again in a hundred thousand years. They will be heard even after the world ceases to be. They will be listened to in the same religious fervor as today, seized by that grave, warm, slow, sweet, sensual and tender voice, the very voice of love, the love of woman, the love of men , The love of love.
Love that brings lovers together in the soft embrace of a bedroom, love that magnifies existence and gives meaning to our presence on earth, love that transcends and illuminates everyday life, love that consoles and ravages the souls. Leonard Cohen was only Love. Quest for love. Loss of love. Loss in love.
He made love to our hearts, to our souls, that love which is the very love of a loving God, a God who would forget for once his anger and his thirst for vengeance to take us in his arms and rocked us until we eventually fell asleep.
This is what was nice with Leonard Cohen: thanks to his records, we no longer needed to go to the synagogue, the synagogue came to us, it was enough to close our eyes, the voice of Cohen was Cantor's voice, singing pain and beauty, evoking the distant times of the early temples, singing the memory of Isaac and Joshua, all those prophets who led the people of Israel to the conquest of the Promise Land.
Everything was in it place in the songs of Leonard Cohen. He had a sense of economy, modesty, and discretion which is the hallmark of supreme elegance. And charm. Of this innate thing that is simply called the class. Sobriety in sorrow as in joy. Salvation through song. Redemption through the Word.
And the two mingled, the song and the verb, the verb and the song, on the wire of a slender guitar, to the sound of choirs rising high to the sky, through the sobbing of violins, bewitched our hearts, painted sound landscapes, drew arabesques, making palpable the very pulsation of love, of the act of love.
Leonard Cohen is not dead, no, he just joined the choir of the Patriarchs, the house of his Fathers, in the very heart of eternity, where Time no longer exists, in the splendor of gilded palaces, among the sweetness of languid women on beds suspended between heaven and earth.
Take good care of him, he spent his life singing to you.
Laurent Sagalovitch
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Brigitte » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:15 pm

I am in the forum for years but never posted anything because of my bad English. But after this empty week knowing the singer I admire most and who helped me in many situations is gone I must say thank you to him wherever he may be. I had his voice and poetry to manage life - so maybe it is the blessing he wished at the end of every concert that found me in my solitude. Thanks also to all the unknown members who are telling their experiences and feelings. I hope the forum will carry on.
Thank you, Leonard, and rest in peace!
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by tinderella » Sun Nov 20, 2016 10:26 pm

Thanks for all these stories and opinions. It is really lovely to read them
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Deena » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:12 pm

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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by its4inthemorning » Mon Nov 21, 2016 4:57 pm

Since finding this forum several years ago, I was always pleasantly surprised that our group always remained focused on Leonard and his body of work and avoided off-topic and divisive subjects. I venture to say that this is unique among widely-followed internet forums, and it is something that allows all of us to be able to discuss all thing Leonard in an atmosphere becoming of our hero.

Leonard was always careful to avoid openly discussing politics, and like almost every course he took, I believe he did this intentionally. In fact, he did this so well that I would be hard-pressed to spectulate on his political leanings with any degree of certainty.

May we continue to honor Leonard by avoiding political posts on this site, or at least by posting them in the "political" section? I hope I am not alone in this request.

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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Amrei » Mon Nov 21, 2016 5:20 pm

Clementine wrote:I knew that we would probably never see him again when I watched the 'You Want it Darker' release celebration interview, from the Canadian Consulate in LA.

Leonard had an ethereal sort of 'childlike' look, which I've often observed in family and friends with late-stage cancer.

Like a little boy who simply needed his bed - and eternal rest. Lord, please grant that to him. He deserves it.

Clementine, sadly I noticed that, too.
1988: Århus; Holstebro
1993: Århus; Holstebro
2008: Århus 06.07.; Copenhagen 17.10.; Hamburg 31.10.
2009: Berlin 02.07.
2010: Hannover 27.09.; Dortmund 29.09.
2012: Copenhagen 25.08.; Aalborg 26.08.; Berlin 05.09.
2013: Hamburg 14.07.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by cohenadmirer » Tue Nov 22, 2016 1:50 am

There are statements in the article by Bill Curry that i'm not sure have been verified .
Unhelpful !
Still heavy of heart when my mind focuses on what the world has lost.
Leonard's work resonates
Brighton 1979; Dublin , Manchester june 2008; glasgow, manchester Nov 2008; Liverpool july 2009 ; Barcelona Sept 2009 ;marseille, lille september2010: Ghent August 2012;Barcelona October 2012;Montreal x2 November 2012: 2013; Saint John NB April 2013; Brussels June 2013;Manchester August 2013; Leeds , Birmingham September 2013; Amsterdam September 2013
Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Hal E. Lujah » Tue Nov 22, 2016 2:09 am

Thanks to all for your thoughtful, heartfelt comments. I have listened to the last work of LC non-stop all day for many days. It is all the more tragically touching to hear this man's final statements, so authentically. He is indeed a scholar of the soul, and always has been. I wish that the world would listen to more of him than the Hallelujah, for we all know he has so many songs, so many different facets. He was all the time an old soul, and he reached the fullest expression in his old age. As so many pointed out, he was far from depressive towards life; he affirmed the sacredness of life, in all its sorrow. Dylan may have had more influence on the musicality and politics of the generation, but LC had more influence on the soul of the generation, less cerebral, more heart-and-mind balanced. He was never destined to be popular, and I don't think he ever wanted that. He was needed, though. He attained popularity for a time, but that is not what's important. Rather it is the value of his opus, not how many could appreciate it, or who sold more records, which is a crass evaluation. In a dark age such as this, he shone a light on the darkness, without losing faith in the value of life, with all its attendant suffering. Judaism always affirmed life, which Schopenhauer dismissed as shallow; he was wrong. I am glad that he was forced to become a song-writer and performer; I would not have noticed his poetry. Through odd coincidences, he was given to the world, perhaps as a sacrifice. I will see you again, Leonard, as fate determines.

Hal E. Lujah
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Squidgy » Tue Nov 22, 2016 7:57 am

its4inthemorning wrote:
May we continue to honor Leonard by avoiding political posts on this site, or at least by posting them in the "political" section? I hope I am not alone in this request.

You are not alone.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Squidgy » Tue Nov 22, 2016 9:20 am

This was published a few hours ago.

http://new.thejewishweek.com/news/inter ... onal-essay
Tad GW
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Re: Tributes to Leonard around the world

Post by Tad GW » Tue Nov 22, 2016 8:21 pm

An inadequate personal tribute:

Leonard: A Cento for Your Thoughts

The rhythm of your song
The unexpected rhyme
Rock and roll’d us along
Shot words I wish were mine.

Down to a place by the river.
With her I want to travel blind,
make her perfect body quiver
punctured by my verse. You don’t mind?

Prompted Hallelujah chorus,
Music and lyrics for a hymn.
You undressed yourself before us,
Proof on the roof of wrinkled skin.

Groan’d mea culpas, you’re no liar.
A worm on a hook, not to be,
like a drunk in a midnight choir,
in your way, to be, you thought free.

Your sisters had naught but mercy.
Wanted a darker epitaph.
Sold yourself for love, now you’re free,
left the table. A final laugh?

Stories of Gypsies and the Jews.
Confessed to staring at your shoes.
You beat a hammer, didn’t leave clues.
Said it was almost like the blues.

I kill the candle? Cut the cord?
Dance to the end, not blow out flame,
Hungry kiss as my reward.
If to you it is all the same.

You left us a box of chocolates.
The end was reported in prose.
Your soul inside of your pockets.
How it goes. Everybody knows.

Ago, sang so long, Marianne.
Now we know it’s time we began
to laugh and cry, because we can.
It’s closing time. You are my man.
Everybody knows.

Leonard (Norman) Cohen. Poet.
Singer-songwriter, novelist
(21 September 1934 Montréal
7 November 2016 Los Angeles,)
(Everybody knows.)
Last edited by Tad GW on Wed Nov 23, 2016 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by tinderella » Tue Nov 22, 2016 10:13 pm

Amrei wrote:
Clementine wrote:I knew that we would probably never see him again when I watched the 'You Want it Darker' release celebration interview, from the Canadian Consulate in LA.

Leonard had an ethereal sort of 'childlike' look, which I've often observed in family and friends with late-stage cancer.

Like a little boy who simply needed his bed - and eternal rest. Lord, please grant that to him. He deserves it.

Clementine, sadly I noticed that, too.

This post really resonated with me. I did not see my mother often as she lived in England but when I heard from my sister that she was very ill, I went to visit her with another sister. We were both stunned when we saw her. She just looked so innocent and childlike it was incredible. She had a hard life and it did show throughout her life but when we saw her for the last time a few weeks before she died, we both commented on the fact that she looked so sweet and wonderful really.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by eldark » Wed Nov 23, 2016 1:24 am

Whenever things feel bad or all is not right with the world, I listen to Leonard Cohen. With everything that has been going on in the world lately and with some bad news in my own life, I had been listening to him almost constantly over the past few months. His music is like a form of meditation for someone like me who is not religious or very good at being mindful. Even in huge, packed out venues, the two concerts I saw felt like spiritual experiences. It reminded me of when the older generation in Ireland describe a priest as 'giving a great mass' :-) His music transcended everything, his recent work even more so for me - Anthem, Born in Chains, Treaty, A Street. Take this longing and Bird on a Wire also mean a great deal to me, among many others. I think my favourite line though is just "The corners of the blueprints are ruined since they rolled far past the stems of thumbtacks that still throw shadows on the wood"...just because it's something so small observed so beautifully.
I had found his address on this forum recently as I wanted to write to him and tell him how much his music lifted me in dark times but I couldn't find the words to capture what I wanted to say. I really wish he wasn't gone but I am so grateful that I was in the world at the same time as him and had the very, good fortune to see him perform.
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Re: Leonard Has Passed Away

Post by Bartleby » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:41 am

Still rather lost for words but this poem of Kevin McGrath which was written following the death of a former resident of Hydra whom Leonard would have known came to mind -

Where is the boat, I do not see it
The banded moon is already there,
Did you weep, stepping aboard
Was the passage complicated.

Are there lemon trees growing there
And whiter birds among the bells,
Do you feel refreshed and strong
Having shed your old worn skin.

The orange blossom must smell sweet
Erotic, thanatic, and the leaves pungent,
How is it when there is always light
Sunless, sleepless, without change.

Perhaps they were the oars I heard
Slow locks squeaking and dripping,
As I woke before dawn yesterday
And your house was all closed up.

So long Leonard and thank you for the many gifts you brought us. I am so glad that our lives coincided.
Those who earnestly are lost
Are lost and lost again

1989: Hydra; 1993: Royal Albert Hall x 2; 2008: Dublin x 3; Manchester Opera House x 2; London O2; Royal Albert Hall x 2; 2009: Dublin 02 x 2; 2010: Sligo x 2; 2012: Dublin x 2; 2013: London O2; Dublin x 2; 2014: Dublin meet up
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