Anjani on life with Leonard

News about Leonard Cohen and his work, press, radio & TV programs etc.
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JZ
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Anjani on life with Leonard

Post by JZ » Sat May 05, 2007 1:48 pm

From 'San Francisco Chronicle' 05/04/07:

Anjani Thomas on life with Leonard

"Is that the worst thing in the world?" asks Anjani Thomas. Now that she mentions it, it was kind of a stupid question. But it's also one that must be on lots of peoples' minds: Does she ever feel overshadowed by Leonard Cohen, the famously reclusive Canadian singer-songwriter who wrote and produced her most recent album, "Blue Alert," and also happens to be her boyfriend?

Working as Cohen's backup singer and keyboard player since the mid-'80s (that's her voice on his seminal recordings such as "Hallelujah" and "First We Take Manhattan") the two officially became an item eight years ago. To make "Blue Alert," the pair scoured Cohen's old journals looking for inspiration -- sometimes it came in the form of a completed song, other times just a line they built the album's slinky piano jazz around.

"It was a bit like playing in a treasure box," says Thomas, who headlines the Swedish American Hall on Thursday. Throughout the process, Thomas thought she was just making demos for the 73-year-old singer's next album. Cohen had other ideas. "He kept saying the songs were done," the Hawaiian-born vocalist recalls. "He took them to New York and played them for three different companies, and they all offered to put them out. Who am I to argue?"

The minimalist "Blue Alert" was eventually released on Sony last year but disappeared until Madeleine Peyroux covered the track "Half the Perfect World." Now the disc has been rereleased and is being re-promoted alongside reissues of Cohen's first three albums, "Songs of Leonard Cohen," "Songs From a Room" and "Songs of Love and Hate."

And how does the duo feel about her opening act, Conspiracy of Beards, a San Francisco male choir that exclusively performs a cappella renditions of Cohen's songs? "I'm looking forward to hearing them," Thomas says. "But I don't know if Leonard's going to come. Sooner or later I've got to fly this thing on my own."

Anjani performs with Conspiracy of Beards at 8 p.m. Thursday at the Swedish American Hall, 2170 Market St. in San Francisco. $20. (415) 861-5016. http://www.cafedunord.com.

-- Aidin Vaziri
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Sat May 05, 2007 4:26 pm

"Is that the worst thing in the world?" asks Anjani Thomas.
Exactly. Who wouldn't, in the typical sense of the word, feel "overshadowed" by Leonard, given his iconic status?

As noted by the writer, it seems to be what is on people's minds, and it is the one thing that people try to use as some sort of pejorative toward Anjani. I think her answer was perfect, given the question and the seemingly endless commentary along those lines.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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thoughtcat
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Post by thoughtcat » Sun May 06, 2007 10:56 am

Is that journalist sure they've been together for eight years? I know time flies but it seems like a long time.
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun May 06, 2007 4:03 pm

Hi Thoughtcat ~

Eight years has been the accepted number all around.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
Minerva
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Post by Minerva » Mon May 07, 2007 1:30 am

Did I see her wearing an engagement ring on the 29th?
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Bobbie
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Post by Bobbie » Mon May 07, 2007 3:38 am

She was wearing an eternity ring, which signifies "everlasting love".

B
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Mon May 07, 2007 7:55 am

I didn't know of the eternity ring concept, though everlasting love would surely fit that. A lovely concept for a ring... is it the U.S. equivalent of the Irish claddaugh? On the 24th, I couldn't help but notice the brilliant sparkling of a diamond band on her left hand.


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
JZ
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Post by JZ » Mon May 07, 2007 10:55 am

Lizz: btw: Did you post your reflections on the concert? If so, where?
JZ

(meanwhile I'm counting "sleeps" until Cafe Du Nord gig in San Francisco)
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Mon May 07, 2007 1:50 pm

Hi JZ ~

No, not yet, I haven't. I've not had a chance to finish it, yet. It may well be assessed as not being a critical analysis; however, since I've never been a music critic and it's not intended to be that, that's okay. I'm happy to share what I experienced through my own senses, though. Reflections is a really good way to call it. In fact, that's what I called what I started and never finished on Berlin. I may end up doing that, after I post what I'm writing on Anjani's and Anjani's and Leonard's performances.

I loved the album from my first hearing and have never wavered. I went knowing I'd enjoy their Live performances of their songs, and I surely did. It's impossible to speak fairly or accurately of all that Anjani brings to the music world until you've seen her perform Live... and I loved her music before I did. You'll understand what I'm saying after you see her at Cafe du Nord... the name sounds like it's a super venue. You're in for a treat.

Thanks for asking, JZ :) .


~ Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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lightning
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Post by lightning » Tue May 08, 2007 4:25 am

Forget critical analysis and think of the only quote I remember from Susan Sontag: "We need an erotics of art, not an hermaneutics." You go girl!
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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Tue May 08, 2007 5:14 am

Thanks, Lightning :) .


Love,
Lizzy
"Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken."
~ Oscar Wilde
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