“Thank you for opening the world to me.” Perla Batalla On The First Anniversary Of Leonard Cohen’s Death

A year ago this week: When the news hit of Leonard Cohen’s death, I had just arrived in Europe. I was stunned with grief over the loss of my dear friend and mentor. I thought of going home but decided to stay. Here, everything reminded me of him and I was surrounded by him, his face on the covers of every newspaper in the news stands….vivid memories of morning coffees with Leo at Spanish bars and brisk walks through the plazas (We both liked to walk fast so we could “cover more ground”). We would walk and talk. He spoke of poet Federico Garcia Lorca as his inspiration for becoming a poet. I made a decision a year ago that I would come back to sing in one of those Spanish bars that Leo loved and celebrate his life and work and friendship. And I decided on Café Central in Madrid because of their strong support of live music –They celebrate 35 years of presenting music every single night– and there is a bronze statue of Garcia Lorca in the plaza nearby. Dear Leo, Thank you for opening the world to me. This week there are concerts in your honor near and far. Voices will be raised in deep song and if you lean towards this broken hill perhaps you’ll hear mine. Love you always, Perla Hace un año esta semana: Cuando llegaron las noticias sobre la muerte de Leonard Cohen, acababa de llegar a Europa. Estaba conmocionada por la pérdida de mi querido amigo y mentor. Pensé en regresar a California, pero decidí quedarme. Aquí, todo me recordaba a él y estaba rodeado de él, con su cara en las portadas de todos los periódicos en las taquillas … vívidos recuerdos de cafe de la mañana con Leo en los bares españoles y paseos enérgicos por las plazas (Nos gustó a los dos caminar rápido para poder "cubrir más terreno"). Caminamos y hablamos. Habló del poeta Federico García Lorca como su inspiración para convertirse en poeta. Tomé la decisión hace un año de volver a cantar en uno de esos bares españoles que Leo amaba y celebrar su vida, su trabajo y su amistad. Y me decidí por el intimo Café Central en Madrid por su fuerte apoyo a la música en vivo. Celebran 35 años de presentar música cada noche, y hay una estatua de bronce de García Lorca en la plaza cercana.

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Thanks to CHEMA of Barcelona, who alerted me to this post.

“I sing his songs to come to terms with the loss I feel in my heart every day and to keep him alive and well here in his beautiful body of work.” Perla Batalla Performs Leonard Cohen’s So Long, Marianne & Famous Blue Raincoat

I sing his songs to come to terms with the loss I feel in my heart every day and to keep him alive and well here in his beautiful body of work. Thank you Leonard Cohen for leaving these songs behind and for encouraging me to sing them. Under the moon and the stars and the voices rising in song (Hallelujah), we all felt it…your presence and peace, for a moment.quotedown2

Perla Batalla

From Perla Batalla’s Instagram

Perla Batalla – So Long, Marianne (Leonard Cohen)
Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena: July 29, 2017

Perla Batalla – Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)
Levitt Pavilion, Pasadena: July 29, 2017

Other videos from this concert: Hallelujah & Bird On The Wire

Credit Due Department: Thanks to Chema from Barcelona, who alerted med to these videos.