“I kind of re-introduced [The Partisan] into the world of popular music. I feel I wrote it, but I actually didn’t” Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Montreal 2012

partparis

quoteup2
[‘The Partisan’] was written during or after World War II by a Frenchman; it’s a resistance song. I kind of re-introduced it into the world of popular music. I feel I wrote it, but I actually didn’t. quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

The above quotation is from Leonard Cohen Work Finds A Place by Mary Campbell (AP – Kentucky New Era: June 29, 1985). DrHGuy Note: The Partisan, a song from the French Resistance written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier in 1943. More information can be found at The Origins Of The Partisan.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Montreal: Nov 28, 2012
Video by leonardcohenvideo

“They had cassettes of my songs and Xeroxes of my books. Tickets were scalped for a month’s wages.” Leonard Cohen On Poland’s Response To Him In 1985

Poznan
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I was totally unprepared for the response in Poland [in 1985]. They had cassettes of my songs and Xeroxes of my books. Tickets were scalped for a month’s wages. It was almost embarrassing. ‘The Partisan’ became a kind of anthem in the detention camps after Solidarity was outlawed and there was a large roundup of people. Lech Walesa sent me greetings when I entered. I had the Pope’s bodyguard.quotedown2

Leonard Cohen

 

Leonard Cohen Work Finds A Place by Mary Campbell (AP – Kentucky New Era: June 29, 1985). Poster for the March 19, 1985 Leonard Cohen concert at Arena Poznan’ in Poznan, Poland (inscription: The Legendary Bard Of The Protest Song, The Great Poet And The Composer)  contributed by jeremek, who originally posted it at LeonardCohenForum. Originally posted Sep 18, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Best Leonard Cohen Performance Of The Partisan: Reykjavik – 1988

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Reykjavik: June 24, 1988

This recording of The Partisan has appeared on and disappeared from YouTube several times. It’s available again – which is a good thing because Leonard Cohen, his musicians, and the song’s arrangement combine to offer the best presentation of  “The Partisan” I’ve found. (Other worthy candidates can be found at Searching For The Best Online Video Of The Partisan By Leonard Cohen.)

The elements of the performance I find most impressive follow:

  • While John Bilezikjian on the oud is featured, his passages, including even the first 45 seconds, during which Bilezikjian is literally spotlighted, are clearly integrated into the song rather than the song serving as a podium (or worse, an excuse)  for an exhibition of a soloist talents.
  • Similarly, the music produced by the oud fits and flavors the mood and lyrics of “The Partisan.” An all too real problem with instruments not often heard by audiences is the risk they may be perceived as novelties rather than contributors to the overall sound of the music.
  • Cohen’s voice, which has significantly shifted over the years, has, at the time of this performance,  deepened in comparison to the beginning of his career but hasn’t become as harsh (at least in this instance) as it does later – making it spot on for the romanticized story of bravery and loss told in the words of the song.
  • The backup singers, Perla Batalla and Julie Christensen, provide strong and needed  support for Cohen without becoming overwhelming or competing for the audience’s attention. They also  seem especially well attuned to Cohen’s timing and completely in sync with each other.
  • Likewise, the band is faultless, never missing a note or extending one too long or cutting one off too soon.
  • A simple but effective device, that unceasing drumbeat, sustains the pace and drive of the song.

This content was first posted May 28, 2009 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Up Close & Personal: Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Marseille 2010

marseilleWhen they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

This video was suggested by Linda-Lee Sturgess, who wrote “This video is not perfection – but a remarkable capture of Leonard ‘up close and personal.’”

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Marseille: Sept 21, 2010 (Leonard Cohen’s 76th birthday)
Video by cohenadmirer1

Note: Originally posted Nov 15, 2014 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Video: Leonard Cohen’s Moving Performance Of Partisan – Melbourne 2013

partmel

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
Melbourne: Nov 20, 2013
Video by alanm5049

Note: Originally posted Nov 23, 2013at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

Leonard Cohen Video Of The Day: The Partisan – Live On French TV, 1970

1

The Partisan

The Partisan, a song from the French Resistance written by Anna Marly and Emmanuel d’Astier in 1943,1 has been and continues to be one of Leonard Cohen’s most popular songs, especially in French-speaking countries and in Poland.2

Leonard Cohen On The Joe Dassin Show

On May 13, 1970, Leonard Cohen performed The Partisan on French TV’s Joe Dassin Show – “Arpèges sur Joe Dassin.” Mr Dassin is the host who introduces the Canadian singer-songwriter at the beginning of the video.

Leonard Cohen – The Partisan
May 13, 1970 – French TV, Paris

Note: Originally posted Feb 24, 2013 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric

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  1. There is some confusion about the proper credits for this song. LeonardCohenSite notes, “… as it can be read in Anna Prucnal ‘s LP “Avec Amour”, the actual credit is

    Original: La complainte du Partisan
    paroles: Emmanuel d’Astier de la Vigerie also undernamed “Bernard”
    musique: Anna Marly

    Leonard ‘s cover: The (song of the French) Partisan
    paroles: E. d’Astier de la Vigerie, adaptation Hy Zaret
    musique: Anna Marly
    Ed. Raoul Breton.” []

  2. The Partisan has been featured on this site several times, including Best Performance Of Leonard Cohen’s The Partisan and Rare 1970 Leonard Cohen Partisan & Regina Videos. []

Superb Video: Leonard Cohen Performs The Partisan – Paris 2012

I took my gun and vanished.
I have changed my name so often,
I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me.

The Partisan – Leonard Cohen
Olympia Theatre, Paris – Sept 29, 2012
Video: albertnoonan

Note: Originally posted Dec 11, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric