Photos & First-Person Account: Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas Appear In Paris 2007

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Photos: Leonard Cohen & Anjani Perform Blue Alert Music

Dominique BOILE offers these striking photos he took during Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani at the New Morning club in Paris on July 11, 2007, when Anjani performed in support of the Blue Alert Album.

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Anjani & Leonard Cohen, Live In Paris – The Experience

Maarten Massa, who also attended that 2007 Paris performance, issued this very personal report of the event.

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas: Live in Paris

I’m from Belgium and Anjani will be performing in Ghent next week, but since I’ll be in Greece by then, I decided to go to Paris for a few days and combine a small city trip with Anjani’s gig.

Perhaps some of you remember me from Berlin where I took my dad along. This time, I was able to convince my wife and mother as well to go to Paris (although I’m a bit suspicious about their real purpose to go to Paris – they love shopping…).

So we were at the New Morning Club with a small group of 5 (a friend from Paris joined us there). I wasn’t at all expecting Leonard Cohen to appear, although of course I was hoping he’d show up somehow…

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Videos & Photos: Leonard Cohen, Anjani, Ron Sexsmith, Barenaked Ladies At Indigo – Toronto 2006

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Before The  World Tour – Leonard Cohen & Friends Onstage

In an event now (undeservedly) obscured by the Leonard Cohen World Tour that began two years later, Leonard Cohen spent the Saturday afternoon of May 13th, 2006 listening to and singing with Anjani, Ron Sexsmith, and the Barenaked Ladies performing his songs.

Whether you’ve seen this video before or not, it is a delight.  First, observe Ron Sexsmith prompt a somewhat reluctant Leonard Cohen with the lyrics of Cohen’s own “Goodbye Marianne” and then watch as Leonard Cohen joins in with more and more enthusiasm to the point that he finally looks like a teenager ardently auditioning during an episode of Glee.

Update:  Another partial video of  So Long Marianne can be found at Video: Leonard Cohen, Anjani, Ron Sexsmith, Barenaked Ladies – Toronto 2006

Leonard Cohen and Friends – So Long Marianne
Toronto: May 13, 2006
Video by 

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Ron Sexsmith & Barenaked Ladies – Heart With No Companion
Toronto: May 13, 2006
Video by 

lc-anjani-indigoAnjani & Leonard Cohen – I Never Got To Love You
Toronto: May 13, 2006
Note: video terminates before end of song.
Video by .

Credit Due Department: The outstanding photos in this post were taken by Joan Vinall-Cox, who has enjoyed Cohen’s poetry and songs since 1968, when she bought his first album. She was in position to take these pictures because of winning two fourth-row seats to the show in a contest she had forgotten entering. Happily for viewers, she and daughter Meryle were able to attend (and reportedly had a lovely time).

Note: Originally posted Sep 4, 2011 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Recommended Reading: “Leonard Cohen – Out Of The Monastery And Back On The Road” & Sharon Robinson’s “My life with Leonard”

indepLeonard Cohen: Out of the monastery and back on the road by Simon Worrall, published in the 15 June 2008 Independent, is one of the most engaging concise biographical (up to 2008, of course) sketches of Leonard Cohen I’ve seen.  And, as if that weren’t enough, “My life with Leonard” by Sharon Robinson is added as a bonus. The following excerpt is part of Sharon’s description of collaborating with Leonard:

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Leonard is well versed in many kinds of music. He listens to the music people give him, music recorded by friends and associates. He listens to Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, blues and R&B, Otis Redding. I see myself as part of his palette, to be a sounding board and to execute whatever we decided would work. It’s intimidating working with him if you think about it. So I try not to think about it.quotedown2

Sharon Robinson

 

Note: Originally posted January 29, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Anjani Thomas’ Exquisite Performance Of “Innermost Door” With Lyrics By Leonard Cohen – Jools Holland Show 2007

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The Innermost Door

As is true for all the tracks on the Blue Alert album (SonyBMG 2006), the lyrics of The Innermost Door were written by Leonard Cohen with music composed by Anjani Thomas, who also performed the songs. (The album was produced by Leonard Cohen.)

Cohen describes The Innermost Door as

…something irreversible, but something inevitable. ‘Saying goodbye/at the innermost door,’ I suppose that has a certain finality, but a certain appropriateness too. I don’t know what it means, [but] Anjani brings the lyric to life.1

Anjani sang “Innermost Door” on the Jools Holland Show as part of the promotion of the Blue Alert album.

Anjani Talks About Jools Holland, The White Stripes, And Anjani

When I asked about about this performance, Anjani responded,

I was so honored to do on this show.  Jools’ love for music and musicians is so real and supportive, and he’s a such a versatile artist that he played keyboards for The White Stripes in the same show!

This was filmed in a cavernous studio that was refrigerator cold. I could actually see my breath in the dressing room and had to wrap myself up in a towel and jump up and down to stay warm.

I was really happy that Jools’ played piano for me so I could focus on the vocal and not worry about my shivering hands.

When Meg and Jack came on the decibel level went off the charts. I have never heard a band make so much music out of guitar, bass and drums…

There was so much energy in the room it seemed to encourage the other bands on the show to play even louder to make an impression.

Talk about feeling old — I had my fingers in my ears for most of the filming! But it was a thrill and definitely the highlight of that tour.

Best Of Anjani

In light of the production values of the recording and, frigid environs notwithstanding, the quality of Anjani’s own performance, this is my selection as the best available video of her work.

Anjani Thomas – The Innermost Door
Jools Holland Show: June 1, 2007
Video from a1000kissesdeep

Note: Originally posted July 12, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. Inside Blue Alert []

Cover Art By Leonard Cohen: The Anjani Thomas Sacred Names Album

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Ask Anjani

Yep, it’s another episode of your favorite game show, Ask Anjani.

Today’s question: What is the origin of the cover art on The Sacred Names album?

sacrednamesAnjani answers:

I didn’t want my photo on the front cover, so we were searching for an idea that felt celestial and soft. After looking through many images of angels, Leonard came across a beautiful old painting (sorry, don’t remember the origins), scanned it, and worked with Photoshop to get the cover.  He made many versions with different colors and stronger lines; and he also added the Hebrew letters and more iconology.

The Ed Sanders Bonus

Ed Sanders, who worked on The Sacred Names, was introduced to Leonard Cohen by Anjani during the making of Dear Heather, which Sanders produced. He has since served as Producer of Blue Alert, Can’t Forget: A Souvenir of the Grand Tour, Mixing Coordinator of Popular Problems, and Leonard Cohen’s go-to tour companion.

Note: Originally posted July 14, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Hear Leonard Cohen’s Introduction At The Anjani Thomas 2007 Warsaw Concert

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Now Online: Leonard Cohen’s Introduction To Anjani’s 2007 Warsaw Concert

Leonard Cohen opens Anjani’s March 31 2007  Warsaw concert with an introduction that is moving, interesting, and funny. Thanks to Apolinary POlek, Heck Of A Guy offers a recording of those words.

Leonard Cohen Introduces Anjani
Warsaw: March 31, 2007

 

Thank you so much, friends… Please, sit down, thank you so much. Thank you, Marek, thank you very much. Thank you for coming tonight. Thank you, the listeners of Trójka. It’s a great privilege and a great honor for us to be here. We were here 22 years ago. There were brave men in prison. There were people under house arrest. There was the Heavy Hand over the society and over the culture. And here today, 22 years later, they’re calling this the “New Paris”. Warsaw is the new Paris. Well, maybe Warsaw doesn’t want to be the new Paris? In any case, we don’t live in Warsaw, we don’t live in Paris although those geographies may define our actual location; we live in other places that are more intimate and more real and more authentic than whatever the official culture defines us as. I was reading in Milosz’s book today… just one beautiful paragraph… He says

Man has been given to understand that he lives only by the grace of those in power. Let him therefore busy himself sipping coffee, catching butterflies. And whoever cares for the republic will have his right hand cut off. There is so much death and that is why affection for pigtails, bright-colored skirts in the wind, for paper boats no more durable than we are.1

And then the poem just drifts off. And it’s in that drifting off that these songs that we have tonight are written. Just… The songs not of great love, not of… songs that address the great bewildering challenges of today whether they’re global warming of the clash of civilizations or the resolution of all the horrendous conflicts that beset us. These are songs that Anjani and I wrote about the little places, about the little loves, about the little corners.

Some distinguished musicians have come with us from Canada. And I’d like to introduce them to you. These are master musicians – soloists and composers in their own right. On keyboard, Lou Pomanti. On guitar, Rob Piltch. On bass, Scott Alexander.

These songs are honored by the company of these musicians. Now, one day… I know Anjani very well – some of you may know – we’ve been singing and working and living together for many years, but one day very recently I woke up and I heard her singing in a completely different voice. It was as though her voice–and I know her voice very, very well–but it was as though her voice had moved from the throat to the heart. And it was a completely different sound, a completely different timbre, a completely different dimension.

And I was so happy when she began to put my words to music, so I hope that you will find favor in these songs that we’re going to offer you tonight. They are new songs with a new voice, and I’d like to present to you Anjani.

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

  1. The reference is to Czeslaw Milosz’s “Alfabet Milosza” (1997) []