LEONARD COHEN IN LISBON: thank you for such a wounderful concert!

Yesterday was one of those days that make me thank my parents for not having stopped at their ninth child.

20 years ago, Leonard Cohen gave a concert in Cascais. I didn’t go, but my brother did. After that, he couldn’t stop himself from listening to Leonard Cohen. I listened too. I had no choice. I am not deaf, and unlike our eyes that we can shut, there is no way not to ear, when your older brother (actually my 6th older brother) is the one who owns the tape recorder. Being the 10th of 12 children has its advantages. Of course I am not expecting those who have small families to understand that. It doesn’t matter, thanks to my brothers and sisters and my mother and father, I grew up listening to lots of music that my own generation didn’t have the chance to appreciate.

Yesterday I had the chance to listen to Leonard Cohen live in Lisbon. It was a wonderful evening. The night fell smoothly as Leonard Cohen and his band gifted the audience with almost 3 hours of the best of his best music. I hope that one day, when I get old and my brain starts deteriorating, and that I loose my memory and my reason, my heart may still remember the joy I felt for being there and how light I was feeling afterwords.

I am posting a You tube with one of the musics from last night. This you tube video was recorded in May 2008, in one of the concerts of his current tour. I admire Leonard Cohen above all as a poet. For me he is above all a poet, a poet that also composes and sings. Leonard Cohen is one of the reasons why I love the English language. His lyrics inspire me, and those readers that happen to know me personally know that I frequently quote him.

However, I chose a song whose lyrics are not his. Take this Waltz is a tribute to Federico Garcia Lorca, a poet that left too many poems unwritten. He was assassinated by spanish fascists for the simple reason that they didn’t like him. He was too independent, too non-conformist and too cosmopolitan. They just couldn’t stand him so they took him, he lost his life and we lost the chance to admire his poems yet to be written. Thanks to Leonard Cohen many people who would otherwise never come across into Lorca’s poetry had the chance to get to know him. A beautiful way to honour his memory.

Federico Garcia Lorca’s body was never recovered. An olive tree was planted in the place where he was shot.

Update: Here you can find some you tubes from the Lisbon Concert (and a link to my own blog).


Filed under Art, Joie de vivre, Lisbon, Non-conformism, Portugal, Spain

7 responses to “LEONARD COHEN IN LISBON: thank you for such a wounderful concert!

  1. Respected and dear bloger, researcher and as i would claim, important contributor to contemporary culture, Sarah!
    I thank you for this latest post on Leonard Cohen’s not only concert, but art.
    My hart is full that you had a chance and joy to witness his performance: as I always say, it metters more who witnesses an event, then how many do it. So, your presense there gives the event important power of influensing, being more then just an other concert consumed personaly by ticket buyers, causing a chain of thoughts that you will have to, and do share…
    I happen to be the one of those who know you in person. And here I must say, you give me the opportunity to comment on poetry and English language, since i write mine in it (and English is not my mothe tongue). You and I talked about it some days, also months ago. Due to Cohen and many more musicians and authors of their own lyrics (I will not obuse space on your blog for details, since I am preparing my own text on poetry and English language), I became aware that best poetry that ever got its way to my full attention, hart and brain proccessing, is the poetry sang: lyrics to rock, blues, pop and other directions in music. And that poetry is in English, mainly. So when I express myself in verses, it is due to my habit since early childhood, of fully attentive consumation of art of music. To listen to it, for me is an asignement equally important as work. It is work: I sit and play Choen (or other favourits), and I do it until my full understanding of each word, until having my analizes of text and music, until i have worked on it for hours, whole nights sometimes. Experience of music is the reason why poetry comes to me in English language, and why I gave my first book of poetry (about to be published) a title “ROCK ALBUM”. As you said, Leonard Cohen you see, above all, as a poet. To go with it, I say, poetry I mainly find in music!
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and memories inspired by last night’s concert in Portugal!

  2. Vera Sousa Matos

    Ao ler o seu post sobre o concerto de Cohen, percebi que, tal como milhares de outras pessoas, partilhámos ontem um momento sublime.
    Deixo aqui um link que encontrei com o último tema que Cohen cantou com o resto da sua equipa na despedida do palco. Será que todos se aperceberam de que era uma bênção para o público?… “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”


  3. sarahfranco

    Vera, de facto ontem assistimos a um momento sublime… um momento que se prolongou por quase três horas, em que estivemos perante verdadeiros artistas que se dedicam a sério à sua arte. Sublime é a palavra certa.

  4. My english is not good enough to express as I would like to do it the exciting and moving feeling that Leonard Cohen and his band caused in Lisboa the other night, while they were playing their wonderful songs and moon shined over the Tajo river.

    ¡Thanks a lot, Leonard!

  5. sarahfranco

    Juan, it is impressive the feeling of community among Leonard Cohen’s fans.
    Sorry for not repying in spanish, but my portinhol is a little rusty :-).

  6. It’s sort of nice to know that I am a distant cousin of Leonard Coan. We are both bi-polar writers. I did some geneological studies to find this out.

  7. sarahfranco

    well, morgan, about you and him being bipolars, plase remember that psychiatry is still at the level of stone age…