Dr. Chantal Ringuet To Lead Leonard Cohen Course At McGill School of Continuing Studies

Leonard Cohen: In Words and Music

Leonard Cohen: In Words and Music is a course led by Dr. Chantal Ringuet at the McGill School of Continuing Studies, beginning on Oct 16,  2017. The followiing is from the McGill website:

Join us for an overview of Leonard Cohen’s work and journey.

Gain an understanding of the greater cultural context of the writers of the beat generation, folk singers in the US, the turbulence of the 1960s, Québec’s Quiet Revolution, modernism and postmodernism, and the Cold War; all through Leonard Cohen’s work. You will learn all about the emergence of the young McGill poet and his position as an outsider in his community.

The focus will then shift from the writer to the acclaimed singer, composer, and songwriter that he became when he turned to performance and recording. As a cultural icon, Cohen will be studied starting with the emergence of his first album, 1969’s Songs of Leonard Cohen, which later became a cultural phenomenon. We will follow his resurgence after 1988’s I’m Your Man and his world fame after the tours of 2008-2012.

More information about the course and enrollment can be found at Leonard Cohen: In Words and Music

Thanks to Chantal Ringuet  and Francis Mus, who alerted me to this event.

“Here is Leonard Cohen! He is super old. I love him. He was so incredible.” The Kids, Cohen, & Coachella 2009

“We’d played festivals in the past, and I’m not crazy about the setup.”

Leonard Cohen in anticipation of Coachella

In Leonard Cohen’s February 20, 2009 interview with the LA Times, he voiced concern about his April 17, 2009 show at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival:

“We’d played festivals in the past, and I’m not crazy about the setup. You’re on a roster with a whole lot of other people. You don’t have the evening. I like to be in a room with people for three hours, have a beginning, middle and an end. We can’t do our whole set, it’s not our rhythm. But we have heard it’s a special hospitality there. We’ll play our best and look forward to it.”

In addition to the environment and the staging logistics listed by Cohen other potential hazards also loomed ominously.

Cohen would be trapped, for example, between the personification of pop music nostalgia, Paul McCartney, the headliner of the first night who would would be playing the evening’s grand finale, and the multitude of hip and trendy bands who were invited precisely because they were currently surfing on the waves of popularity. And, as can ascertained by the 2009 Coachella poster below, Leonard did not receive top billing.

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A Uniquely Enlightening Discussion Of Leonard Cohen’s Albums

 Along The Way… Discovering Leonard’s Albums is a passionate, insightful, enlightening, clever, and thoroughly enjoyable discussion of Leonard Cohen’s studio and live albums that has been going on for 6-7 months at LeonardCohenForum. The posts are organized around a new fan reviewing Leonard’s work in an organized (albeit not obsessively so) manner with commentary and recommendations from other Forum members. It’s the kind of unhurried, in depth consideration of Leonard’s work, offered without pontification by folks who are knowledgeable and care deeply about Leonard Cohen, that I haven’t found elsewhere. It is, indeed, a treat.

The discussion begins at Along The Way… Discovering Leonard’s Albums

Max Layton, Irving Layton’s Son, Talks About Leonard Cohen – Family Friend, Guitar Teacher, & Woman Magnet

The release of Max Layton’s album, “It’s a Mystery to Me,”  in triggered a recounting of his stories about family friend Leonard Cohen.

Guitar Lessons With Leonard Cohen

From Max Layton A Leonard Cohen Approved Album by Don Graham (Cashbox Canada: June 4, 2014)

Max Layton: Leonard would bring his guitar to parties at my parents’ house in Cote St. Luc when I was nine or ten. That’s when I fell in love with the sound of it – and first met him. I remember him showing me how to play E minor ,the simplest two-finger chord, and me taking his guitar upstairs to my bedroom and cradling it in my arms and strumming it quietly while downstairs the partiers got louder. Leonard was a student at McGill and taught me guitar throughout the fall and winter of my 13th year. That would be 1959. My parents had separated by then and I was still living with my mother, Betty Sutherland, aka Boschka, who was an artist. Her painting is on the CD cover. Somehow she managed to buy me a guitar and she traded one of her paintings for the lessons, which consisted of Leonard teaching me chords and various finger-picking techniques. It took about an hour once a week to get downtown by bus, then a long climb carrying my guitar to the top of Mountain St. where Leonard had a bachelor apartment. I remember choking back tears when he told me he had taught me all he could.

A final Leonard Cohen quote of the album. “Max you seem to be in very good shape, unusual confidence in the voice, you got something going Max with these songs.”

Leonard Cohen – “A Magnet Attracting Women”

From Irving Layton Avenue Unveiling (The Chronicle: April 30th 2007)

Max recalls how, at night, he would sneak out of his room and watch from the top of the stairs what the adults were up to. He describes Cohen as being like a “magnet attracting women.” As soon as Cohen stepped into the room, women would swirl around.

“Leonard, in my opinion, is the greatest song writer of our times,” says Max. “He’s the 21st century Jewish psalmist. His songs for me were very religious, beautiful and memorable.”

Credit Due Department: I was alerted to this article by Linda Sturgess

Note: Originally posted Jun 10, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Recommended Online Reading: Conversations From A Room (Leonard Cohen Interview) by Tom Chaffin

Conversations from a Room by Tom Chaffin (Canadian Forum: August/September 1983) is an outstanding interview that makes for rewarding reading. It is saturated with significant Cohen quotations on performing concerts, Montreal, poetry, politics, songwriting, and housecleaning. As a sampling, I offer the final words of the article, in which Leonard responds to the critics’ charge that “his recent celebrity has blunted his powers on the printed page:”

There’s something about daily life that threatens [artistic integrity], and you’re not going to be able to do anything about that. I find that kind of speculation totally irrelevant. You have to ham it up when you go out and apply for a job. The fact is, we live in this world. This is the vale of tears. This is the plane we operate on. What everybody’s talking about is the loss of innocence. So — deal with your innocence as you will. You’re probably in trouble, anyway, if you’re in this [singer-songwriter] racket. So fame becomes just another thing to look out for.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Descriptions Of Leonard Cohen’s Voice: “Deeper than a Siberian coalmine”

Trim and dapper, Leonard Cohen today has the look of an aging mob lawyer, with a voice once described as “deeper than a Siberian coalmine.”

Leonard Cohen: Born With The Gift Of A Golden Voice

Leonard Cohen’s distinctive voice has been described so often and so strikingly that I’ve collected these characterizations under their own tag: Leonard Cohen’s Voice

This excerpt is from Leonard Cohen: the maestro who’s made the most of his misery by William Langley (Telegraph Jan 22, 2012). Photo by Ted McDonnell. Originally posted at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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