In one sense, the sound of the Shaar Hashomayim choir on the record is that, a turning the corner: picking up a thread stretching back to your childhood. I wonder why human beings spend so much energy fighting the links and chains and threads, and instead constantly quest for renewal, change, answers. We live, and we die. The links and chains and threads are life, and they are not rendered any less precious or meaningful by death. Were you consciously aware of the pull of the past when you thought of using the choir? Or did it simply suggest itself?
It was just an answer to the needs of the song
Note: Leonard Cohen was asked why he chose the choir of the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue of Montreal for the You Want It Darker recording in another interview. Read his more thorough answer here.
From the Dan Cairns – Sunday Times Culture questionnaire Leonard Cohen sent me Oct 17, 2016. While portions of that questionnaire were incorporated into Leonard Cohen: Hey, that’s some way to say goodbye by Dan Cairns (The Sunday Times: October 23 2016), this specific response was not used.