Photos & “Who By Fire” Video: 2010 Leonard Cohen Dortmund Concert

dort1This videos posted here include a five minute solo played by Javier Mas as the introduction to “Who By Fire,” almost all of which appears to be different from his previous renditions. It is also gorgeous. The photos are by Marjan Doets, Netherlands.and C.Carle/R.Strugala.

Javier Mas – Who By Fire Intro
Dortmund: Sept 29, 2010
Video from golittlesong, aka Henning


Leonard Cohen – Who By Fire
Dortmund: Sept 29, 2010
Video from golittlesong, aka Henning 



Note: Originally posted Oct 4, 2010 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen & The 1973 Yom Kippur War


Note: A video of “Leonard Cohen Sings to Israeli Troops in the Yom Kipur War” has recently been posted to YouTube, but appears to be a segment of the video below.

Video from אורי שפירא

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Jo Meul & Linda Sturgess, who brought these videos to my attention. Note: Originally posted January 13, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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.

Leonard Cohen’s Who By Fire At The “Heart Of The Americans’s Plaintive Season Finale”


On Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, the sinner’s fate is sealed. To be blotted out of the Book of Life, in scripture’s cruel parlance, is to be culled from the ranks of the righteous, and it’s this eternal exile to which Leonard Cohen turns in his 1974 track “Who by Fire.” The spare, tragic ballad, inspired by Jewish tradition, but attuned to fears of a more modern sort, forms the hardened heart of The Americans’s plaintive season finale, rising on the soundtrack as Philip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell) face an expulsion of their own. “Persona Non Grata,” in which Gabriel (Frank Langella) urges his agents to flee the country, forces these unwelcome guests in Cold War America to confront the question that defines the immigrant experience: At what point is the place from whence we came no longer the place we call “home”?

Excerpt from The Americans Recap Season 4, Episode 13, “Persona Non Grata” by Matt Brennan (Slant: June 8, 2016)

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Rike and Frances Sloan, both of whom alerted me to the appearance of Who By Fire in this episode of The Americans.

Excruciatingly Moving Solo By Javier Mas Opens “Who By Fire” 2010 Leonard Cohen Ourense Show

jaasNote: Originally posted Jan 12, 2011 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Javier Mas Spotlighted In September 12, 2010 Solo

This video featuring a gorgeous solo by Javier Mas at the start of “Who By Fire” at the September 12, 2010 Leonard Cohen Ourense Concert got lost in the crush of content from the Fall 2010 Tour.Happily, the 3-4 month delay has not diminished the quality of the performance by the musician Cohen calls “the Shepherd Of The Strings.”

Leonard Cohen – Who by Fire
Ourense: Sept 12, 2010
Video from adrigl1990