Pauper Sum Ego

Ask and answer questions about Leonard Cohen, his work, this forum and the websites!
Post Reply
User avatar
B4real
Posts: 6770
Joined: Sun Jun 07, 2009 4:49 am
Location: Q'ld, Australia

Pauper Sum Ego

Post by B4real » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:37 am

Leonard Cohen’s curious cure for stage fright
https://faroutmagazine.co.uk/leonard-co ... ight-cure/
Ahead of his residency at London’s Wembley Arena in 2012, his backing singers, The Webb Sisters, spoke with The Independent. They offered a vivid insight into what went on before their performances on his comeback tour. The duo revealed: “Leonard always asks us to be there half an hour before the show, so we can be there together as a band. It’s a great way of everyone sticking together,” they explain.
“There’s a whole array of beverages and we often have a whisky. Leonard loves a whisky. He used to have to drink three bottles of wine before going on stage because of nerves. Now it’s just a whisky.”
After he had guzzled his whisky, Cohen’s final ritual was beautifully absurd as he emphatically led his band through a Latin song. “It’s in Latin: ‘Pauper sum ego, nihil habeo’ – ‘I am poor, I have nothing’,” the sisters recalled. “It comes from Leonard. The bass player plays a note, Leonard starts singing and we all follow. The 10 of us then walk to the stage singing it. It’s a great focusing ritual. It’s a way of reducing the weight of what we feel. It’s really unifying.”

I thought I'd add a bit to the above info. There is an incident of a similar situation at Glastonbury 2008 as reported by Sylvie Simmons. Also, LC has been singing in Latin this chant-in-the-round since at least the 1970's. Here's an example with a video put up by Tom years ago from the film The Song of Leonard Cohen by Harry Rasky (1980) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uFOjTVCPBjY
You can almost see the words they were singing written on a piece of paper.
There are slightly different translations, here's one -
ego sum pauper (I am poor)
nihil habeo (I have nothing)
me ipsum dabo (I will give my own self)
It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to B4real ~ me
Attitude is a self-fulfilling prophecy ~ me ...... The magic of art is the truth of its lies ~ me ...... Only left-handers are in their right mind!
Post Reply

Return to “Comments & Questions”