Video: Evocative, Intimate Performance Of “Whither Thou Goest” By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas – 2007

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Whither Thou Goest, was often used by Leonard Cohen, who sang it a capella with other band members, as a concluding benediction to many of the concerts of his 1988 and 1993 tours.

Written by Guy Singer in 1954, the lyrics of Whither Thou Goest are derived from Ruth 1:16-17, which is the loving vow Ruth, a widow, makes to follow Naomi, who had been her mother-in-law, even though that meant leaving her own country and family. The King James Version of that scripture with Ruth’s pledge follows:

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

This canticle, its intonations a particularly good fit with Cohen’s voice and phrasings, was resurrected for the Blue Alert concert tour with Cohen joining Anjani on stage for this final song.

And, although Whither Thou Goest continues to serve as a farewell blessing to the audience [at time of original posting], now it is also a strikingly tender and intimate song as performed by these two musicians.

Leonard Cohen & Anjani – Whither Thou Goest
Joe’s Pub, NYC: April 24, 2007

Note: Originally posted Apr 2, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Listen To, Download “Anjani Thomas With Leonard Cohen Live In Poland 2007”

Anjani Thomas & Leonard Cohen

As most ongoing readers know, Anjani Thomas was hired by producer John Lissauer, to provide backup vocals on Leonard Cohen’s Various Positions album and then went on to tour with Cohen in 1985, as his keyboardist and backup vocalist, She also contributed to I’m Your Man, The Future, Dear Heather and Old Ideas. She and Leonard were also romantic partners.

Anjani’s Blue Alert (2006) is an outstanding album comprising songs performed by Anjani, who also wrote the music, with lyrics by Leonard Cohen,  This Warsaw radio performance was in support of that album.  Among the tracks are two songs, Whither Thou Goest and Never Got to Love You, performed as duets by Anjani & Leonard.

Live at Studio im. Agnieszki Osieckiej, Polskie Radio Program 3 (a.k.a. “Trójka”), Warszawa, Poland, March 31, 2007

From the ROIO site:

Anjani Thomas’ Blue Alert came out early in 2006. Then nothing. Other “divas” got the push instead. Corrine Bailey Ray comes to mind as the most recent. Thankfully she did a short tour of Europe with companion and friend Leonard Cohen who produced Blue Alert and wrote all the lyrics to the songs. One show was properly recorded and broadcast on Polish radio. This is it.

Thomas has an angelic voice diametrically opposite to Cohen’s smoker’s cackle. It’s so smooth you can’t believe she can sing Cohen. But this is no Famous Blue Raincoat a la Jennifer Warnes… Anjani rifled through Cohen’s old notebooks, found lyrics and poems and put them to music. This is late-night listening nirvana, combination of Anjani’s sexy, cool vocals with Cohen’s always subversive lyrics… Perhaps it is best to let Leonard Cohen describe what’s found here:
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Anjani answers “Has [Leonard Cohen] become more gentle in old age?” (2007)

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No, rather sharper, more intense. He has no time to lose and works very concentrated on the things he still wants to do. Unfortunately, this means that he does not have much leisure for contacts. We spend time with our families, with their children and his grandson. But we do not go to parties and have no big circle of friends either. Actually, we work mostly. A very simple life.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

 

From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Paul Zollo. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Anjani Outs Leonard Cohen & Herself As “Cleaner Fanatics”

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Now, life does not just consist of art. You also have to look after profane things like the household. We [Leonard Cohen & I] are both cleaner fanatics. If everything is not spotless, we can not work. We are so similar that sometimes it is eerie. quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

 

Anjani’s quote is from Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007 [via Google Translate], an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. The illustrative photo atop post is by Guido Harari (other Guido Harari photos of Leonard Cohen can be found at the Wall Of Sound Gallery site.) The lower photo is by Andrew Stawick. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Anjani Thomas Talks About Leonard Cohen Cooking For Her

Does Leonard cook for you?

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He made me breakfast every morning until he tried to bring me this funny green protein drink, which he drinks. Now he only makes me the eggs in the morning. I like that very much about him.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Anjani On Leonard Cohen’s Lyrics: “Leonard is an extraordinary songwriter because he is first of all a poet”

Q: What do you like about Leonard Cohen’s lyrics?

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They are wonderful to sing. Leonard is an extraordinary songwriter because he is first of all a poet. His lyrics read like poems. He has the wonderful gift of juxtaposing images that would normally never be brought together. This results in sharp, impressive, almost magical word pairings. For example, Blue Alert starts with the lines: ‘There’s perfume burning in the air.’ In the song, words like ‘perfume’ and ‘beauty’ become ‘shrapnel’ and ‘dirt.’ For me this is the description of a very original, essential feeling state.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas

 

From Mit Gedächtnisschwund kommt man schon sehr weit by Von Johannes Wächter. Süddeutsche Zeitung Magazin: Issue 17: 2007, an interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas about their connection. Quote via Google Translate. Photo by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted April 24, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric