Anjani Thomas On Leonard Cohen As Mentor

It’s hell. It’s not for sissies – he’s brutally honest, which is what I want. I don’t want him to pander to me just because I’m making his lunch.quotedown2

Anjani Thomas


Also see Adam Cohen On Leonard Cohen As Mentor

From Seen and heard Grammy weekend: Leonard’s love… (Brandon Sun: February 11, 2008). Originally posted Feb 12, 2008 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Tell Me Everything Features Leonard Cohen On Jew’s Harp & Anjani Thomas On Vocals


From The Vimeo Description:

‘Tell Me Everything’ is a 7-min. short produced, directed and edited by Brian D. Johnson in 2006, and funded by Bravo!FACT. In this version, John Gzowski’s score was mixed by Ed Saunders, Leonard Cohen’s engineer, and it foregrounds Leonard on jaw harp and Anjani Thomas on vocals. Andrea Nann performed and choreographed the dance sequences.

Thanks to Alex Bee, who alerted me to this video, which was originally posted May 6, 2010 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Anjani Thomas Sings 2 Songs With Lyrics By Leonard Cohen – St. John’s 2013


Song To Make Me Still & Standing On The Stairs

spiceboxSong To Make Me Still is a poem from Spice Box of Earth, a volume of Leonard Cohen’s poetry published in 1961 when Cohen was 27 years old.

Lower your eyelids
over the water
Join the night
like the trees
you lie under

How many crickets
How many waves
easy after easy
on the one way shore

There are stars
from another view
and a moon
to draw the seaweed through

No one calls the crickets vain
in their time
in their time
No one will call you idle
for dying with the sun

Standing On The Stairs

parasites1Standing On The Stairs is a Leonard Cohen poem published in Parasites Of Heaven (1966). Anjani, in an interview in Jan 2013,1 had this to say about Standing On The Stairs:2

Leonard wrote the lyrics of that album [Blue Alert] and I wrote the music. It was a very collaborative album because he had a clear idea of what led me to make that record. That’s why he caught some songs right away, although others took many takes to do them well. When it was perfect we both felt in our bones. One of the songs that didn’t go on that record will be on the new one. It is entitled ‘Standing on the stairs’ and it is a song that has traveled extensively. Born as a country-inspired song, it took on a tinge of folk and eventually I discarded it altogether. Two years later I met Jerry Marotta, the producer of this album, and it was one of the first songs we recorded. During the time I was recording, Leonard was on the road and I had to navigate alone. I would send him ideas and he would send clues back to me. He was as involved as he could be

Anjani Thomas – Song To Make Me Still & Standing On The Stairs
Feast Of Cohen, St. John’s, Newfoundland: Dec 29, 2013
Video by AnjaniMusic

Note: Originally posted Feb 4, 2014 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

  1. Anjani Thomas, la cantante que conquistó a Leonard Cohen by Alfonso Cardinal, Efe Eme: Jan 28, 2013 []
  2. English translation by Helen Ketcham []

Anjani Thomas, Leonard Cohen, & Frozen Novelties

In 2014, I posted (on my former sites) several Leonard Cohen-related items published by Sore Dove Press that were then up for auction. A review of these demonstrated that they warranted reposting on Cohencentric. While most of these pieces are artistic presentations of Leonard’s own work or the work of others pertinent to Leonard Cohen, today’s subject is the above card bearing the legend, “I am a firm believer in the healing power of frozen novelties,” attributed to Anjani Thomas, Leonard Cohen’s backup singer, collaborator, and romantic partner.

Publisher and poet Soheyl Dahi explains:

The quote was given to me by Anjani. This was part of series of cards in a box called ‘Slogan Series’. I asked her to give me her favorite slogan and that was what she gave me.1

While there is no evidence that Anjani’s statement of faith in Popsicles and similar treats arose from Leonard, there is little doubt of the Canadian singer-songwriter’s affection for (more posts on the subject at the link).

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Karl Lohninger, who reminded me of these Sore Dove Press items.


  1. Anjani had a way with offbeat answers. When I asked about her favorite nickname for Leonard for my Leonard Cohen, AKA … – The Nicknames list , her response was “Master of the Egg Salad Sandwich.” []

Video: Evocative, Intimate Performance Of “Whither Thou Goest” By Leonard Cohen & Anjani Thomas – 2007


Whither Thou Goest, was often used by Leonard Cohen, who sang it a capella with other band members, as a concluding benediction to many of the concerts of his 1988 and 1993 tours.

Written by Guy Singer in 1954, the lyrics of Whither Thou Goest are derived from Ruth 1:16-17, which is the loving vow Ruth, a widow, makes to follow Naomi, who had been her mother-in-law, even though that meant leaving her own country and family. The King James Version of that scripture with Ruth’s pledge follows:

16 And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:

17 Where thou diest, will I die, and there will I be buried: the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me.

This canticle, its intonations a particularly good fit with Cohen’s voice and phrasings, was resurrected for the Blue Alert concert tour with Cohen joining Anjani on stage for this final song.

And, although Whither Thou Goest continues to serve as a farewell blessing to the audience [at time of original posting], now it is also a strikingly tender and intimate song as performed by these two musicians.

Leonard Cohen & Anjani – Whither Thou Goest
Joe’s Pub, NYC: April 24, 2007

Note: Originally posted Apr 2, 2007 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Listen To, Download “Anjani Thomas With Leonard Cohen Live In Poland 2007”

Anjani Thomas & Leonard Cohen

As most ongoing readers know, Anjani Thomas was hired by producer John Lissauer, to provide backup vocals on Leonard Cohen’s Various Positions album and then went on to tour with Cohen in 1985, as his keyboardist and backup vocalist, She also contributed to I’m Your Man, The Future, Dear Heather and Old Ideas. She and Leonard were also romantic partners.

Anjani’s Blue Alert (2006) is an outstanding album comprising songs performed by Anjani, who also wrote the music, with lyrics by Leonard Cohen,  This Warsaw radio performance was in support of that album.  Among the tracks are two songs, Whither Thou Goest and Never Got to Love You, performed as duets by Anjani & Leonard.

Live at Studio im. Agnieszki Osieckiej, Polskie Radio Program 3 (a.k.a. “Trójka”), Warszawa, Poland, March 31, 2007

From the ROIO site:

Anjani Thomas’ Blue Alert came out early in 2006. Then nothing. Other “divas” got the push instead. Corrine Bailey Ray comes to mind as the most recent. Thankfully she did a short tour of Europe with companion and friend Leonard Cohen who produced Blue Alert and wrote all the lyrics to the songs. One show was properly recorded and broadcast on Polish radio. This is it.

Thomas has an angelic voice diametrically opposite to Cohen’s smoker’s cackle. It’s so smooth you can’t believe she can sing Cohen. But this is no Famous Blue Raincoat a la Jennifer Warnes… Anjani rifled through Cohen’s old notebooks, found lyrics and poems and put them to music. This is late-night listening nirvana, combination of Anjani’s sexy, cool vocals with Cohen’s always subversive lyrics… Perhaps it is best to let Leonard Cohen describe what’s found here:
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