Leonard Cohen On The Significance Of His Spanish Guitar & Federico García Lorca

Cohen spoke two really beautiful phrases in his recital. First, he said that his guitar had come home. And at the end of the recital, he dedicated his first concert in Spain to Federico García Lorca.1 The guitar comment was clear; it was a Spanish guitar. But why the dedication?

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It’s not that I wanted to earn sympathy by dedicating the recital to Lorca. When I was fifteen years old I discovered a book of his poems that I always took with me, until the book began to lose its pages. He is the poet who has influenced me the most, so much so that a month ago I had a daughter and I decided to call her Lorca, Lorca Cohen. What can I say about a name that at one point in my life changed my way of being and thinking in a radical way? The other part is the Spanish guitar, the deep cante of a people that has known how to place the singer in the position not of someone who is a show but something that has to do with the people and, more than that, with their emotions. I mean flamenco singing. That’s why I have always felt a special desire to perform in Spain.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen Words And Silences by Constantino Romero (1974). Republished in Rockdelux 356 (December 2016). Via Google Translate.

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  1. Leonard Cohen’s first Spanish concert in 1974 was in Barcelona (Oct 12) []

Look Who Made It Into Sharon Robinson’s On Tour With Leonard Cohen: Mitch, Alex, Roscoe, Hattie, Charley, Neil, Dominique Issermann, Lorca, DrHGuy, Duchess, The Guy Who Carries Leonard Cohen’s Guitar…

I continue to be delighted by the images in Sharon Robinson’s On Tour With Leonard Cohen, which Vogue described as “a book of photographs, 92 percent of which were shot on an iPhone, which gives them a curious sense of intimacy, spontaneity, and complicity, echoing, in a way, the particular closeness of Ms. Robinson and Mr. Cohen’s relationship.”  Now, most folks buy this book because of the photos featuring Leonard Cohen, but there are other treats: many, many shots of other members of the Unified Heart Touring Company (past and present), family, strangers, local scenes, and the occasional hangers-on who show up at soundcheck in Austin.

On Tour with Leonard Cohen By Sharon Robinson (PowerHouse Books: December 9, 2014). Originally posted Dec 11, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

The 2018 Leonard Cohen Field Guide

The Legacy Of Leonard Cohen 2018: People, Places, & Projects

While Leonard Cohen died November 7, 2016, his work and memory live on. This chapter of the Leonard Cohen Primer identifies some of the individuals, locations, and potential projects that figure prominently in the legacy of Leonard Cohen in 2018.1

Robert Kory

Leonard Cohen & Robert Kory. Photo by Gwen Langford.

Robert Kory, Leonard Cohen’s business manager, lawyer, and friend, is now Trustee Of Leonard Cohen Family Trust and, pragmatically, the primary decision-maker for matters Cohen in 2018 (see Robert Kory, Trustee Of Leonard Cohen Family Trust, Talks About His Mandate To Expand Appreciation Of Cohen’s Work).

The Robert Kory Story: Leonard Cohen experienced a financial disaster that he discovered in 2004.

Leonard is broke, or to put it more properly, he’s been robbed. You may have followed this in the press, but the drift is, the songwriter was bilked out of millions due him by his former manager, Kelley Lynch. A true femme fatale, even though Cohen successfully sued Lynch (for $9 mil), she has ignored the suit.2

Within a short time, the legal pursuit of his financial losses depleted Leonard’s funds to the point that he would soon be unable to pay the professionals charged with protecting his interests. In the midst of these problems, Leonard Cohen, Anjani, and Lorca Cohen were discussing this looming and increasingly tempestuous financial maelstrom when Lorca experiences an epiphany expressed as an innocuous question addressed to Anjani: “Wasn’t your ex-husband a lawyer?” Anjani responds that yes, her ex was indeed a member of the legal profession – which is how Anjani came to be phoning the man she divorced 15 years earlier to ask his professional help. (More information about this event can be found at The Anjani Chronicles: Escape From New York Meets To Live & Die In LA Meets Back To The Future + The Robert Kory Story.) Cohen and Kory meet and agree to work together. The ensuing legal battles are brutal, ferociously antagonistic affairs, replete with suits, countersuits, threats, demands, and accusations of blackmail, conspiracy, and worse. As noted in the earlier quote from the Guardian, Leonard Cohen, represented by Robert Kory, prevailed in court although collection of the judgment remained a largely theoretical concept. That win led to Robert Kory’s ongoing role in the management of Cohen’s business interests,  including the 2008-2013 tours.

Adam Cohen

Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen, & Adam’s son, Cassius. Photo from Adam Cohen Facebook Page.

Leonard Cohen has two grown children. His son, Adam (born 1972), is, like his father, a singer-songwriter. Adam played a major role in the creation of his father’s final album, You Want It Darker, and the Nov 6, 2017 Leonard Cohen Tribute Concert.

Lorca Cohen

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Leonard’s daughter, Lorca (born 1974), was named after the poet, Federico García Lorca. (Of course, mention of Federico García Lorca at this point is an instance of Chekov’s gun3 so there will be more about him later. For now, however, just keep Lorca’s namesake4 in mind for future reference.)

Lorca has two children, Lyon and Viva. Viva is the child of Rufus Wainwright. Lorca has run an antique store, has assisted her father on tour, and is a skilled photographer. Many of the photos of Leonard Cohen that appear in published materials, CD cover art, etc. are her work.

The photo of Leonard Cohen and a 16 year old Lorca at his L.A. home was taken May 16, 1991 by Paul Harris.

Patrick Leonard

 

Patrick Leonard, who collaborated with Leonard Cohen on his final three albums, Old Ideas, Popular Problems, and You Want It Darker, revealed that the last time he visited Leonard Cohen, the two “were in talks to work on an R&B album.” There are other indications of work produced by The Two Leonards stashed away at the time before Leonard Cohen’s death have sparked hopes of future releases of original material.

Montreal

Leonard Cohen mural on Crescent St, Montreal. Photo by Michael Loftus

Leonard Cohen was born, grew up, attended college, maintained a residence, and was buried in Montreal (see ). Montreal scenes were featured in some of Leonard’s songs (see Leonard Cohen on Suzanne “It was never about a particular woman…it was more about the beginning of a different life for me. My life in Montreal”), and he was also a member of Montreal’s Congregation Shaar Hashomayim, the synagogue Lazarus Cohen (Leonard Cohen’s great-grandfather) and Lyon Cohen (Leonard’s grandfather) each served as president. Leonard Cohen’s gravesite is located in the Shaar Hashomayim Cemetery.

Photo by Maarten Massa

Montreal was the site of Nov 6, 2017 Leonard Cohen Tribute.

The Flame – Leonard Cohen’s Final Book

The only confirmed, impending official Leonard Cohen project is Leonard’s final book, The Flame, due to be published Oct 2, 2018,. The volume will offer lyrics from his final three albums, poems, prose, illustrations, & selections from his notebooks.

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  1. Note: The first Leonard Cohen Field Guide was published in 2008. []
  2. Leonard Cohen: A troubadour at Charles’s court by Neil Spencer. Guardian: May 21, 2006 []
  3. “Chekov’s gun” references the playwright’s notion that “If in the first act you have hung a pistol on the wall, then in the following one it should be fired. Otherwise don’t put it there.” From Gurlyand’s Reminiscences of A. P. Chekhov, in Teatr i iskusstvo 1904, No. 28, 11 July, p. 521. Preceding primary reference is from Wikipedia []
  4. One suspects that Lorca Cohen, however admirable she may find the poet for whom she was named, may well have grown less enthusiastic about inevitably being introduced in published material as “Lorca Cohen, who was named after the … .” If so, I apologize for perpetuating the trend; it’s the kind of thing newbies need to know. []

From Lorca Cohen “It’s very touching that people are so interested. [Tell them] I’m alive and well with my two kids Lyon and Viva.” June, 2018

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The photo of Leonard Cohen and a 16 year old Lorca at his L.A. home was taken May 16, 1991 by Paul Harris.

Father’s Day Photo & Greeting From Leonard Cohen – 2016

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Happy Father’s Day!quotedown2

Leonard

Leonard sends Father’s Day greetings and this brilliant photo of himself reading to his children, Lorca & Adam (along with a kitten clutched by Adam) at their home in Hydra.

2018 Update: Leonard sent this Father’s Day photo and greeting my way at this time two years ago (2016). It immediately became one of my favorite shots of Leonard and his children. Now, the fact that he took the time and effort to search out and forward this photo when he was already in pain and all but incapacitated by the illness that led to his death renders this image all the more poignant and moving.

Also see Leonard Cohen As A Father

Hear Leonard Cohen Recite Poems & Talk About Life At Mt Baldy Zen Center, Writing Lyrics, His Kids… – 1998 Radio Interview

Chris Douridas interviewed Leonard Cohen on KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic – March 3, 1998. Highlights include

  • “I’m a bad monk” – Life at Mt Baldy Zen Center, including cooking for Roshi
  • “No existential leap” – Leonard’s recitation of A Thousand Kisses Deep, including a line written that day
  • “The old are kind” – Leonard’s recitation of a quatrain
  • Discussion of Leonard’s participation in the Montreal poets group
  • The public’s belated discovery of Dance Me To The End Of Love
  • Leonard’s painstaking writing style
  • The influence of Mediterranean music
  • The work of his children, Adam & Lorca

“They understand I’m not Depeche Mode, but I think they take the measure of it” Leonard Cohen Talks About His Teenage Kids’ Opinions Of His Music And The Prospect Of Adam Becoming A Musician (1988)

Now that they’re teenagers, what do your kids think of your music?

Leonard Cohen: I just spoke to my son — he’s 15 — on the telephone and he said, “Dad, I’ve just been listening to Various Positions and I want you to know I really respect your writing.” It was pretty nice. I gave him a cassette of I’m Your Man before it came out and both my children recited all the lyrics to me.

So they’re fans.

Leonard Cohen: They are very judicious. They understand I’m not Depeche Mode, but I think they take the measure of it. My son has started to write lyrics, so he knows what some of the problems are.

Does he want to be a musician?

Leonard Cohen: I don’t think so, but he happens to be gifted in that realm, so there’ll always be that temptation. He’s a very good singer – a real singer. His pitch is good, he could do it.

He could sing your songs.

Leonard Cohen: He could, but I don’t think he’s interested in the business, in a career in showbiz. I never was. I never thought I was until I had the revelation that I was a songwriter living in L.A.

From Leonard Cohen’s Nervous Breakthrough by Mark Rowland, Musician, July 1988

A Young Lorca Cohen Packs CDs By Dylan, Grateful Dead, Fugazi, & Leonard Cohen (aka “Dad”) For Boarding School Stay

“She didn’t have to do that. It was wonderful.”

Leonard Cohen

From An Interview With Leonard Cohen by Rob O’Connor (Downtown, Feb 12, 1992). This article was contributed by Dominique BOILE. Originally posted Aug 6, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric