Geoffrey Oreyama’s Cover Of "Suzanne" Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

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Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music – The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. … I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

– Leonard Cohen (Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994)

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen has mentioned a number of specific songs he favors. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Suzanne Cover Gives Leonard Cohen A Good Feeling

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This excerpt from Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy (The Q Magazine, 1991), describes a conversation taking place between the author and Cohen while music from the tribute album, I’m Your Fan, plays in the background:

As That Petrol Emotion launch into Stories Of The Street, he [Leonard Cohen] finally cracks. “Hey, we’re really going to have to take this down. It’s such an exquisite distraction.” He turns the volume right down. “We’ll try it as background music, although my guess is that it’ll make it more tantalising.” All goes swimmingly until the opening phrases of Suzanne stop Cohen in his tracks. “Who’s singing this?” he asks.

It is Geoffrey Oreyama, who is signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Cohen squints toward the hi-fi.

“When you hear a guy singing a song like this, which you wrote before he was born, it gives you a good feeling.” He is genuinely choked with emotion. He takes a deep breath. “This isn’t a casual moment for me.”

Oreyama is an Ugandan musician who sings in Swahili and Acholi as well as French and English.

The Video

The audio track of this video is, indeed, Geoffrey Oreyama’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” from the I’m Your Fan album. The video, however, consists of scenes from Final Fantasy.1 I have no information about and am unwilling to even speculate on Leonard Cohen’s assessment of Final Fantasy.

Note: Originally posted Jan 1, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Wikipedia provides this description of Final Fantasy: Final Fantasy is a media franchise created by Hironobu Sakaguchi, and is developed and owned by Square Enix (formerly Squaresoft). The franchise centers on a series of fantasy and science-fantasy console role-playing games (RPGs), but includes motion pictures, anime, printed media, and other merchandise. The series began in 1987 as an eponymous video game developed to save Square from bankruptcy; the game was a success and spawned sequels. The video game series has since branched into other genres such as tactical role-playing, massively multiplayer online role-playing, and racing. Although most Final Fantasy installments are independent stories with various different settings and main characters, they feature common elements that define the franchise. Such recurring elements include plot themes, character names, and game mechanics. Plots center on a group of heroes battling a great evil while exploring the characters’ internal struggles and relationships. Character names are often derived from the history, languages, and mythologies of cultures worldwide. The series has been commercially and critically successful; it is Square Enix’s best selling video game franchise, with more than 85 million units sold, and one of the best-selling video game franchises. Second to Final Fantasy among Square Enix franchises is Dragon Quest. It was awarded a star on the Walk of Game in 2006, and holds seven Guinness World Records in the Guinness World Records Gamer’s Edition 2008. The series is well known for its innovation, visuals, and music, such as the inclusion of full motion videos, photo-realistic character models, and orchestrated music by Nobuo Uematsu. Final Fantasy has been a driving force in the video game industry. The video game series has affected Square’s business practices and its relationships with other video game developers. It has also introduced many features now common in console RPGs and has been credited with helping to popularize RPGs in markets outside Japan. []