Leonard Cohen’s Music As Succor: How Leonard Cohen Helped Us After Losing Our Son To Heroin

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Excerpt from How Leonard Cohen Helped Us After Losing Our Son To Heroin by Bill Williams (Addiction Unscripted):

Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” compelled me. I listened to it over and over and over, lying in bed with my laptop, listening first to a gravelly Leonard Cohen himself singing it, then testing the renditions of all the artists I could find. Sampling them all to distinguish comforting subtleties… Ultimately soothed by repetitions of K.D. Lang’s rich offering, my ritual continued in the two weeks leading up to William’s memorial service. I have no memory of when the rite tapered off. I do know that I come back to the music when I need to, even finding something about the hateful embrace of heroin in all of Cohen’s lyric, most especially: “… love is not a victory march. It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah.”

Read the complete article at the link.

Hear Classic 1988 Leonard Cohen Interview: How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns

Shure_mikrofon_55S-700This is an extraordinary interview that includes this quotation that I consider the touchstone of Leonard Cohen’s perspective:

That’s what it’s all about. It says that none of this – you’re not going to be able to work this thing out – you’re not going to be able to set – this realm does not admit to revolution – there’s no solution to this mess. The only moment that you can live here comfortably in these absolutely irreconcilable conflicts is in this moment when you embrace it all and you say ‘Look, I don’t understand a fucking thing at all – Hallelujah! That’s the only moment that we live here fully as human beings.

The following description is from Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988 at the RTE site:

From the RTÉ archives: Kildare-born novelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist and former RTÉ radio producer John MacKenna made two feature programmes in the RTÉ Radio Centre with Leonard Cohen in 1988, entitled ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’. Together, they offer a remarkable insight to Cohen’s life and work. Below, you can listen to them both in full. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Note: A transcript of this broadcast is available at Transcript: 1988 RTE (LeonardCohenFiles)

The first programme ‘How the Heart Approaches What it Yearns’ is entitled ‘Isaac to Joan of Arc’ in which Cohen discusses his interest in and attitude to heroic figures in history. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Programme 2 is entitled ‘If I Have Been Untrue’  and considers songs about people in the street. (From Leonard Cohen talks to RTÉ in 1988)

Credit Due Department: Photo atop this post “Shure mikrofon 55S” by Holger.EllgaardOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Video: JiHAE Performs Hallelujah In Tribute To Leonard Cohen

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Leonard Cohen was my biggest inspiration and a guiding hero in my journey as a singer/songwriter. I discovered him when I heard Nina Simone’s haunting version of ‘Suzanne.’ I recall the very moment I heard ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ at a friend’s place in Soho. Listening to that song was like diving into a sad novel, with its rich tale of love, friendship and betrayal. There are times all of us realize that the world is not a fair place and we begin to see through all the lies and deceit around us. Listening to ‘Everybody Knows,’ shook my world and blew my mind like no other song. I celebrate Leonard Cohen for the gifts of all of his songs and for the way he graciously encouraged me as a songwriter. I’m grateful that he left treasures behind to move and shake many more generations of songwriters to come.

— JiHAE

JiHAE – Hallelujah (by Leonard Cohen)

Ongoing readers may recall that JiHAE has been featured in previous Cohencentric posts:

In addition to being a singer-songwriter and multimedia artist, JiHAE is an actor, currently starring in “Mars,” the National Geographic docu-drama produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. She plays twin sisters, Hana Seung, a pilot turned Commander, and Joon Seung, Secretary General of IMSF (NASA of the future).

Leonard Cohen: “No alibi … You have to stand up and say Hallelujah”

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I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view. I think the other song that is closely related to that is ‘Anthem.’ It’s the notion that there is no perfection–that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

From “Robert Hilburn Interviews Leonard Cohen” by Robert Hilburn (Los Angeles Times, September 24, 1995)

Note: Originally posted November 8, 2011 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric