Javier Mas Talks About Touring With Leonard Cohen – July 2014 Interview


In a July 1 radio interview (broadcast July 11, 2014), Javier Mas, who plays 12 string acoustic guitar, bandurria, laud and archilaud in Leonard Cohen’s band, talks about how he came to be hired for the tour, his freedom as a performer, his relationship with and assessment of Leonard Cohen, and more. While many points are intriguing (e.g., the role Anjani Thomas played in recommending Mas to Cohen for the Tour and the problems with the American musicians’ union), my two favorite specific anecdotes follow:

1. When Leonard Cohen first called him to ask about the arrangements he had done for the 2007 tribute album, Javier Mas tried to defer the discussion because he mistook the Canadian singer-songwriter for “an African friend who also has a deep voice.”

2. Javier Mas admits to initially feeling embarrassed when Leonard Cohen, who, as Mas notes “is older than me,” would kneel to sing to him. Mas first made a face to signal “do not do this.”Then, at intermission,

I said I was embarrassed and told him to do it no more. Leonard told me he was excited to do it … and since [then he] does every concert.

Now, Cohen kneeling before him has become an inspiration with Mas replying to Cohen’s singing with the guitar.

Update: Also see Video: “Who By Fire” Featuring The Exquisite Guitar Of Javier Mas – 2013 Leonard Cohen Vienna Concert

jmasboloThe interview was originally broadcast on Spanish radio and is now also available as a transcript. Both the broadcast and the text (both in Spanish) can be found at El músico español que puso a Cohen de rodillas by Alfonso Cardenal. Cadena Ser: July 1, 2014.

English text via Google Translate: The Spanish Musician Who Had Knees Cohen The title notwithstanding, the Google English translation is readable with no more than reasonable effort.

Leonard Cohen Online Directory: This recording is the first entry in the Spanish Video Or Audio Recordings section of the Leonard Cohen Online Directory

Credit Due Department: A special thanks goes to CHEMA of Barcelona,m who alerted me to this interview. The photo atop this post as taken at the Oct 12, 2010 Ljubljana show by Maja Kogej. The second photo is a screen capture from video taken at Nov 20, 2010 Leonard Cohen concert at Hanging Rock.

Note: Originally posted July 12, 2104 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

One Reply to “Javier Mas Talks About Touring With Leonard Cohen – July 2014 Interview”

  1. MaryB

    Google translate can confusing but also gives me some laughs. This interview was well worth the read. Thanks Allan for re-posting it.