“He emanated that kind of beauty – he had this grace and poise. The sophistication of it was quite remarkable” Martha Wainwright Describes First Meeting Leonard Cohen

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I met Leonard’s daughter Lorca when I was 14 years old, and we were very close. Whenever I went to LA, I stayed at her house and he lived upstairs. He came to see a bunch of my shows, we talked about music; he’s made me soup, he’s made me tea. He was a great dad to his children, very nurturing. He was obviously a formidable character. When Leonard talked you listened. I’ll always remember the first time I met him. I was staying at Lorca’s and I was chopping onions, looking out of the kitchen window, and I just saw this man with the most beautifully cut suit and a fedora. Next to him was a plant, the grass was green, and next to him on the other side was a beautiful naked woman lying on her stomach, on a bench. It was the most incredible scene. I was shaking and had to put the knife down so as not to cut my finger. He emanated that kind of beauty – he had this grace and poise. The sophistication of it was quite remarkable and in sharp contrast to myself, who was probably wearing some stretched-out pair of underwear and a T-shirt with holes in it.quotedown2

Martha Wainwright

 

From What Leonard Cohen means to me: ‘He made me feel less heartbroken’ Paul Muldoon, Martha Wainwright, Ezra Furman (Guardian: Nov 13, 2016). Photo by moneboh from Rome, Italy – Own work, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

“I have taken such consolation in so many Leonard Cohen songs. He made me feel less heartbroken because he was heartbroken with me.” Ezra Furman

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I have taken such consolation in so many Leonard Cohen songs. He made me feel less heartbroken because he was heartbroken with me. And he made me see the beauty through the darkness. The heroes in the seaweed. I think he was so good at writing songs because he treated it as a sacred vocation. His songs are always as real as the deepest prayers, whether they are devotional, desperate, lovestruck, angry or intoxicated. They are devoid of dishonesty or smallness of mind. His lyrics are so good because he knows the power of a word, a phrase. What it can be at its best. As he put it: “There’s a blaze of light in every word.quotedown2

Ezra Furman

 

From What Leonard Cohen means to me: ‘He made me feel less heartbroken’ Paul Muldoon, Martha Wainwright, Ezra Furman (Guardian: Nov 13, 2016). Photo by Paul Hudson from United Kingdom – Ezra Furman at Rough Trade, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

“[Leonard Cohen] took great care that all of us were happy. He always had time to listen to us and give us advice if we asked. I learned a lot with him.” Javier Mas

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I rarely saw him angry. He was a fair person, with a huge sense of humor and a very controlled ego for how big he was. He was aware of himself, but not too much. And he took great care that all of us were happy. He always had time to listen to us and give us advice if we asked. I learned a lot with himquotedown2

Javier Mas

 

From Javier Mas: «Hablé con Leonard Cohen 15 días antes de morir y me dijo que estaba animado» by Israel Viana (ABC: 07/11/2017). Via Google Translate. Thanks to Maria Viana, who alerted me to this article.

“I wanted to be around [Leonard Cohen] because I wanted to be around that radical kindness.” Jennifer Warnes

It’s probably hard to pick one [song[, but what are your favorites?

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I have no favorites. My favorites are my friendship with the man himself. I don’t care about the music on some level. I care about the man. I care about the man and what he gave and what we stood for. What he showed and how he led, with gentleness and kindness and tenderness. And how he respected women, the overwhelming gentleness always shocked me because I was raised in a rougher universe. I came from that situation where men didn’t treat women well, so to be around somebody so overwhelmingly gentle, you kind of put everybody else on the back burner. I wanted to be around him because I wanted to be around that radical kindness. And I think people sensed that he was like that, but as a woman to be around that? It was the reason why everybody wanted to be his girlfriend or his boyfriend or whatever. He was revolutionary in the stance that he brought to the world. So the music is gorgeous and the body of work is huge. And, you know, he is Dylan’s equal. But I would say when all is said and done, what I’m going to remember are a few tones of voice and the look in the eyes and his impeccable timing when you were in pain, those kinds of things. I’ll remember that I woke up from a surgery to see him in there sleeping in the hospital, and I’ll remember him at my mother’s funeral. That’s what I’ll remember.quotedown2

Jennifer Warnes

 

From ‘Born to be his conduit’: Jennifer Warnes remembers her friend and collaborator Leonard Cohen by Randall Roberts (LA Times: Nov 14, 2016)

“[Leonard Cohen] was the star that everybody wanted to move towards, whether they knew it or not.” Patrick Leonard


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If you want to be a poet right now, in this world we live in, you want to aspire to what is the greatest poetry you know of. If you want to be an archer or whatever it is you want to be, you want to look up at what you think is the best and move in that direction. I think the difference between Leonard [Cohen] and everybody else I worked with is he was that direction. He was it. He was the star that everybody wanted to move towards, whether they knew it or not.quotedown2

Patrick Leonard

 

Patrick Leonard reveals that Leonard Cohen was working on an R&B record (CBC Radio · November 11, 2016)

“Walking on stage and having thousands of people immediately convulse with emotion – that feeling didn’t go away, I just learned to manage it.” Charley Webb On Leonard Cohen’s 2008 Fredericton Show

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We were all standing in a line to go on stage in this tiny theatre in [Fredericton] Canada, which was rammed to the rafters with clearly diehard Leonard fans. Sharon, Hattie and me walked on with [Leonard Cohen] and, yeah, his hands behind his back were shaking. He talked briefly about it being, ‘A few years, friends,’ and the place just exploded. I was completely taken aback because I’d never experienced that sort of physical reaction before. I had to compose myself to sing ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love.’ Walking on stage and having thousands of people immediately convulse with emotion – that feeling didn’t go away, I just learned to manage it.quotedown2

Charley Webb

Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photos by J. Gordon Anderson.

A remarkably similar description of the Fredericton show from a different perspective can be found at “The roar of the [2008 Fredericton] crowd was… ferocious adoration… Up until that moment it was just another job to me.” Leif Bodnarchuk On Working For Leonard Cohen.

More about the Fredericton concert can be accessed at In The Beginning … Photos & Videos Of Leonard Cohen’s First 2008-2013 Tour Show: Fredericton, May 11, 2008.

Sylvie Simmons Talk & Performance – Savannah March 30, 2018 + Concert With Jim White – Bluffton April 5, 2018

Sylvie Simmons will be in the Savannah area for a talk, Q&A and performance March 30 at The Book Lady Bookstore, as well as a concert with Jim White on April 5 at Bluffton’s The Roasting Room Lounge, which kicks off the pair’s East Coast mini-tour.

Information from Sylvie Simmons talks music, journalism and the exhaustion of exploring Leonard Cohen’s mind by Joshua Peacock (DoSavannah: Mar 29, 2018)

“Leonard [Cohen] was very deep and very committed to his friends. He was also very grateful, and I say that with a particular intention. In my work, Leonard supported me emotionally, artistically and financially. That’s extremely rare – people don’t do that.” Judy Collins


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[Leonard Cohen] called me up one day, and during the conversation, he asked, ‘Judy, why don’t you write your own songs?’ That really got me thinking and soon after I wrote ‘Since You Asked,’ which was the start of me writing my own material. As he became more famous over the years, we would stay in touch, and we’d meet up whenever he was in New York. Leonard was very deep and very committed to his friends. He was also very grateful, and I say that with a particular intention. In my work, Leonard supported me emotionally, artistically and financially. That’s extremely rare – people don’t do that. They don’t really help you when you do them a favour. For the most part, they don’t even say ‘thank you.’ And I won’t get specific, but let me tell you that it’s the truth, Leonard, on the other hand, has shared both his artistry and his abundance with me in the moments that it counted. quotedown2

Judy Collins

 

Also see Video: Leonard Cohen Recites “Since You Asked” By Judy Collins

Quotation from Happy Birthday, Leonard Cohen by Abby Steward. Hot Press: Sept 2017. Photo by Elektra Records – eBay itemphoto frontphoto back, Public Domain, via Wikipedia