Video: Leonard Cohen’s Moving Performance Of Partisan – Melbourne 2013

partmel

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Melbourne: Nov 20, 2013
Video by alanm5049

Note: Originally posted Nov 23, 2013at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Video Of The Day: The Partisan – Live On French TV, 1970

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The Partisan

The Partisan, a song from the French Resistance written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier in 1943,1 has been and continues to be one of Leonard Cohen’s most popular songs, especially in French-speaking countries and in Poland.2

Leonard Cohen On The Joe Dassin Show

On May 13, 1970, Leonard Cohen performed The Partisan on French TV’s Joe Dassin Show – “Arpèges sur Joe Dassin.” Mr Dassin is the host who introduces the Canadian singer-songwriter at the beginning of the video.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
May 13, 1970 – French TV, Paris

Note: Originally posted Feb 24, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. There is some confusion about the proper credits for this song. LeonardCohenSite notes, “… as it can be read in Anna Prucnal ‘s LP “Avec Amour”, the actual credit is

    Original: La complainte du Partisan
    paroles: Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie also undernamed “Bernard”
    musique: Anna Marly

    Leonard ‘s cover: The (song of the French) Partisan
    paroles: E. d’Astier de la Vigerie, adaptation Hy Zaret
    musique: Anna Marly
    Ed. Raoul Breton.” []

  2. The Partisan has been featured on this site several times, including Best Performance Of Leonard Cohen’s The Partisan and Rare 1970 Leonard Cohen Partisan & Regina Videos. []

Superb Video: Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Paris 2012

I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

The Partisan – Leonard Cohen
Olympia Theatre, Paris – Sept 29, 2012
Video: albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted Dec 11, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

A Vietnamese Essay On The Political Context Of Leonard Cohen’s Version Of “The Partisan”

paretwemb
The  topic of the essay under consideration is the evolution of “The Partisan,” long a standard in Leonard Cohen’s oeuvre, from its origin as “La Complainte Du Partisan,” an inspirational song by Anna Marly  invoking the spirit of the French Resistance, through its adaptations by Cohen, including the change in the translated lyrics from “German soldiers” to “enemy” and the bilingual aspect of his performances of the song. Also noted is the especially warm reception Cohen’s  renditions of “The Partisan” receive in France.

The quality of the article is such that even internet-powered translations cannot camouflage its merits. That is a necessary but not sufficient reason for posting about it.

It’s the  context of the article itself intertwined with its content that makes it unique. The Partisan: Ca khúc song ngữ Anh-Pháp bất hủ của Leonard Cohen by Trọng Nghĩa is a Vietnamese language offering by RFI, “a public service radio station for people around the world. It provides French and foreign-language broadcasts through its offices in Paris and abroad.”

So, this is an essay about a song  originally written to venerate the spirit of the stalwart French Resistance fighting against foreign oppressors that has been published on the Vietnamese satellite of a  French-based radio network. In the 1950s, of course, the Vietnamese mounted their own heroic resistance against foreign oppressors – oppressors who happened to have been French.

Finally, reading this  from my own perspective as an American, who was a medical school deferment away from being part of another foreign army fighting for power in Vietnam, without the language skills necessary to discern if the author of the original essay tacitly or overtly acknowledges the historical implications or if, indeed, those complex connections are the central point of the piece, further intensifies the postmodern  sense of being thrust within wheels within wheels.

A thoughtful reading of this essay –  even in  a suboptimal translation – offers intellectual insight and, more significantly, a fascinating experience of being immersed in multiple reflections and refractions of self-referential significance reminiscent of a Italo Calvino novel.

At the link, one finds the audio broadcast of the essay in Vietnamese, the transcript (also in Vietnamese), and MP3s (available for download) of Ana Marly’s 1963 rendition of La Complainte du partisan and Leonard Cohen’s 1969 and 2008 versions of “The Partisan”

Note: Originally posted Oct 23, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Warsaw 1985 + The Origins Of The Partisan

war1985

The Partisan and Leonard Cohen

The Partisan, a song from the French Resistance written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier in 1943,1 has been and continues to be one of Leonard Cohen’s most popular songs, especially in French-speaking countries and in Poland.

Rock History 101: Leonard Cohen – “The Partisan” by Tim Nordberg (Consequence of Sound: January 14, 2009) is an excellent (albeit not error free; be sure to read the comments) account of the history and implications of Leonard Cohen’s adoption and adaptation of The Partisan. I’ve excerpted portions here but perusing the entire piece is highly recommended.

At the urgings of General Charles De Gaulle, broadcast on BBC radio, thousands of French men and women took to the hills, and heroically defied the Nazi occupation in the north and the puppet government instituted at Vichy. By the time the allies had landed at Normandy, the French Resistance had organized an irregular fighting force of over 100,000.

… Their struggle against the occupying forces was historically recorded in two surviving historical songs: “Chante des partisans” and “La complainte du partisan.” Cohen had heard the latter on Canadian BBC radio – although in translation. … Cohen then recorded the song for 1969’s Songs From a Room. He is often incorrectly credited as the composer of the song – although he is certainly responsible for its survival.

Cohen’s version downplays the song’s historical content – the English lyrics contain no references to France or the Nazi occupation, but when Cohen swings through the song a second time, in the original French, the first line is: “Les Allemands etaient chez moi”/”The Germans were at my house.”

“The Partisan,” in any language, reminds the listener of a simpler time–despite the song’s calm despair, there’s a Spielsbergian sense of right and wrong, good guys and bad guys, native and invader.

Lyrics:

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
the frontiers are my prison.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Les Allemands e’taient chez moi, (The Germans were at my home)
ils me dirent, “Signe toi,” (They said, “Sign yourself,”)
mais je n’ai pas peur; (But I am not afraid)
j’ai repris mon arme. (I have retaken my weapon.)

J’ai change’ cent fois de nom, (I have changed names a hundred times)
j’ai perdu femme et enfants (I have lost wife and children)
mais j’ai tant d’amis; (But I have so many friends)
j’ai la France entie`re. (I have all of France)

Un vieil homme dans un grenier (An old man, in an attic)
pour la nuit nous a cache’, (Hid us for the night)
les Allemands l’ont pris; (The Germans captured him)
il est mort sans surprise. (He died without surprise.)

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

The Video

This video is from a NBC film of a March 22, 1985 Leonard Cohen performance in Warsaw.2

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Warsaw: March 22, 1985
Video from messalina79

Note: Originally posted Jan 11, 2010 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. There is some confusion about the proper credits for this song.  The French Leonard Cohen Site notes, “… as it can be read in Anna Prucnal’s LP “Avec Amour”, the actual credit is

    Original: La complainte du Partisan
    paroles: Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie also undernamed “Bernard”
    musique: Anna Marly

    Leonard ‘s cover: The (song of the French) Partisan
    paroles: E. d’Astier de la Vigerie, adaptation Hy Zaret
    musique: Anna Marly
    Ed. Raoul Breton.” []

  2. Diamonds in the Mine []

Video – Leonard Cohen Talks About His Life On Hydra: Why He Came, How He Met Marianne, Writing Books & Songs There …

quoteup2
I met a girl and I stayed for eight or ten years.
Yeah, that’s the way it was in those days.
quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

“This was the laboratory of my youth”

In this video, excerpted from the 1988 film Songs From The Life Of Leonard Cohen, Leonard Cohen, accompanied by his backup singers Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, revisits the home in Hydra that he shared with Marianne of So Long Marianne  In addition to a discussion of his life on Hydra, this clip includes performances  of Who By Fire, Bird On The Wire, So Long Marianne, Partisan, and Famous Blue Raincoat.