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) []

Listen To Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas Interview – Warsaw 2007

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

Anjani and Leonard Cohen at Agnieszka Osiecka Studio, Warsaw, Poland

Anjani Thomas and Leonard Cohen appeared in Warsaw as part of the tour in support of the European release of Anjani’s Blue Alert album and the release in the US of a special digipak packaged with bonus DVD in a new 3-panel format. The DVD contains The Making of Blue Alert, a short film by Lian Lunson, and song videos of Thanks For The Dance and The Mist Apolinary POlek, DrHGuy’s favorite Polish correspondent, has generously provided Cohencentric readers access to the 31 March 2007 pre-concert interview with Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas. Despite a case of flu, Leonard Cohen participated in the interview and sang two songs with Anjani (also afflicted with the flu) during the concert.

The interview, presented in both Polish & English, can be heard (or downloaded) at

Anjani-Leonard Cohen Interview: Warsaw – 31 March 2007

 

Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas Intimidate Craig – 2007

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Note: Originally posted Oct 13, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen’s Back – As Seen From The Good Seats

The above photo, posted October 11, 2007, was itself interesting enough to catch my eye. The blogger, seated behind Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas, has, obviously, snapped a photo from his perspective.

In the title of his post, he identifies Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas. Below the photo, he enters only the brief, self-effacing text, “Yes, I was pretty intimidated …” followed by his signature, “Craig.”

That is a nicely done, clever blog entry.

The post, however, gains another a level of complexity when viewed in its entirety, as in the screenshot below.

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Oh, That Craig

“Craig,” it turns out, is Craig Alexander Newmark, as in the Craig, as in the founder of Craigslist, the handy to the point of indispensable online amalgam of classified ads, online community, forums, and more with estimated revenues of $25 million in 2006 to possibly $150 million in 2007,1 posting in craigconnects, his personal blog.2 In another post, Craig describes Leonard Cohen as “the closest thing to a rabbi I have, a really big deal to me.”

Well, Craig might have been intimidated, but if I had been there it would have been, I assure you, a different story.

Yep, I’d be the guy intimidated by the guy intimidated by Leonard Cohen and Anjani Thomas.

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  1. Revenue estimates are from sources quoted in Wikipedia, which is also the reference for the following data: Craigslist, a throwback, in many ways, to the earliest online, Whole Earth Catalog-flavored communities such as the WELL, and Usenet, began as a list of social event around San Francisco now operates in approximately 450 cities in 50 countries and serves over five billion page views per month to ten million unique visitors. With over ten million new classified advertisements each month, Craigslist is the leading classifieds service in any medium. The site receives over 500,000 new job listings each month. The classified advertisements range from traditional buy/sell ads and community announcements, to personal ads and even erotic services. []
  2. While Craig’s post doesn’t specify the occasion, my best guess is that it was the West Coast premiere of Philip Glass’s Book of Longing based on Leonard Cohen’s book of poems performed October 9, 2007 at Stanford. []

Video: Leonard Cohen & Anjani Perform Never Got To Love You & Whither Thou Goest – New York 2007

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The parking lot is empty
They killed the neon sign
It’s dark from here to St. Jovite
It’s dark all down the line
They ought to hand the night
A ticket
For speeding: it’s a crime
I had so much to tell you
But now it’s closing time

Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani At Joe’s Pub, New York

Dick Straub, who shares with me a sojourn in Oklahoma, an admiration of John Irving, and a passion for the music of Leonard Cohen & Anjani ( has passed along this link to the video of the recent performance of the duets, Never Got to Love You and Whither Thou Goest, at the “Leonard Cohen Presents Anjani” concert at Joe’s Pub in New York.

Leonard Cohen & Anjani: Never Got To Love You and Whither Thou Goest
Joe’s Pub, New York: April 2007

 

Note: Originally posted May 8, 2007 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric