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The god abandons Antony by Constantine P. Cavafy (1863-1933)

A great poem from Constantine P. Cavafy, also known as Konstantin or Konstantinos Petrou Kavafis, or Kavaphes (April 29, 1863–April 29, 1933).

Constantine was a major Greek poet who worked as a journalist and civil servant. He has been called a skeptic and a neo-pagan an in his poetry he examines critically some aspects of Christianity, patriotism, and homosexuality, though he was not always comfortable with his role as a nonconformist.

He published 154 poems; dozens more remained incomplete or in sketch form. His most important poetry was written after his fortieth birthday.

This piece was an inspiration for the wonderful Leonard Cohen /Sharon Robinson, song Alexandra Leaving

Lenny live in Greece for some extended time and probably would have been very familiar with Cavafy’s work from there.

More info here:

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by suerdas


The god forsakes Antony

When suddenly, at midnight, you hear
an invisible procession going by
with exquisite music, voices,
don’t mourn your luck that’s failing now,
work gone wrong, your plans
all proving deceptive—don’t mourn them uselessly.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
say goodbye to her, the Alexandria that is leaving.
Above all, don’t fool yourself, don’t say
it was a dream, your ears deceived you:
don’t degrade yourself with empty hopes like these.
As one long prepared, and graced with courage,
as is right for you who were given this kind of city,
go firmly to the window
and listen with deep emotion, but not
with the whining, the pleas of a coward;
listen—your final delectation—to the voices,
to the exquisite music of that strange procession,
and say goodbye to her, to the Alexandria you are losing.


– Constantine P. Cavafy (1911)

Translated by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard

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September 19, 2008 Posted by | Constantine P. Cavafy, Leonard Cohen, Sharon Robinson, _PHOTOGRAPHY, _POETRY | Leave a comment

Sharon Robinson: Alexandra Leaving

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Sharon Robinson: Alexandra Leaving
from: Everybody Knows
Mp3


Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure
They gain the light, they formlessly entwine

https://i0.wp.com/www.leonardcohenfiles.com/tns-cover.jpg
A wonderful, beautiful poetic track from Sharon, co written with the maestro Leonard Cohen from her wonderful recent album Everybody Knows.

This track originally appeared on Lenny’s Ten New Songs LP.


Here’s a nice piece where Leonard Cohen shares his thoughts on
his recording of Alexandra Leaving:

Leonard Cohen on "Alexandra Leaving" Alexandra Leaving
(3 min. 41 sec.)
HI | LO [Windows Media]

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We loved Sharon’s LP and we have a load of Sharon related posts HERE!


Sharon Robinson - Everybody Knows You can hear some tracks and buy the album here.

Click on CD cover (left) to listen & purchase

Alternatively click HERE; CDBABY

Check Sharon’s website here: Sharon Robinson

Read about Sharon here; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sharon_Robinson_(songwriter)

Idunnonumerwhoknows1_2

Suddenly the night has grown colder.
The god of love preparing to depart.
Alexandra hoisted on his shoulder,
They slip between the sentries of the heart.

Upheld by the simplicities of pleasure,
They gain the light, they formlessly entwine;
And radiant beyond your widest measure
They fall among the voices and the wine.

It’s not a trick, your senses all deceiving,
A fitful dream, the morning will exhaust –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

Even though she sleeps upon your satin;
Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
Do not say the moment was imagined;
Do not stoop to strategies like this.

As someone long prepared for this to happen,
Go firmly to the window. Drink it in.
Exquisite music. Alexandra laughing.
Your firm commitments tangible again.

And you who had the honor of her evening,
And by the honor had your own restored –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving;
Alexandra leaving with her lord.

Even though she sleeps upon your satin;
Even though she wakes you with a kiss.
Do not say the moment was imagined;
Do not stoop to strategies like this.

As someone long prepared for the occasion;
In full command of every plan you wrecked –
Do not choose a coward’s explanation
that hides behind the cause and the effect.

And you who were bewildered by a meaning;
Whose code was broken, crucifix uncrossed –
Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

Say goodbye to Alexandra leaving.
Then say goodbye to Alexandra lost.

(based on The God Abandons Antony,
a poem by Constantine P. Cavafy)

Here she be:

Alexandra Leaving

or;

listen to Lenny’s version here…

Alexandra Leaving


thanks to the great luna.typepad.com/weblog/mp3/



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September 18, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, Music_ClassicSong, Music_Jazz, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC, _PHOTOGRAPHY, _POETRY | Leave a comment

Leonard Cohen – Live in Copenhagen,July 2008 (FLAC + Mp3 @320kbps)


Leonard Cohen – Live at Rosenborg Eksercerplads
Copenhagen, Denmark
5 July 2008
FLAC + Mp3 @320kbps

Another typically amazing Lenny show from his current European tour.

Marvellous songs from Cohen’s peerless back-catalogue magnificently rendered by Lenny and his truly wonderful band – including the excellent Sharon Robinson – along with moments of Lenny as stand-up comic!

Pure magic!

Tracklisting

Set One:

01. [06:45.65] Dance Me to the End of Love
02. [07:00.51] The Future
03. [05:05.27] Ain’t No Cure for Love
04. [06:13.39] Bird on the Wire
05. [05:38.24] Everybody Knows (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
06. [05:11.62] In My Secret Life (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
07. [06:45.39] Who by Fire
08. [04:16.61] Hey, That’s No Way to Say Goodbye
09. [12:17.43] Anthem

Set Two:

10. [06:56.71] Tower of Song
11. [03:57.03] Suzanne
12. [06:54.19] Gypsy Wife
13. [06:48.38] Boogie Street (Leonard Cohen/Sharon Robinson)
14. [07:34.26] Hallelujah
15. [06:38.70] Democracy
16. [06:15.48] I’m Your Man
17. [09:37.02] Take This Waltz (Leonard Cohen after Federico Garcia Lorca)

Encores:

18. [06:12.36] So Long, Marianne
19. [05:26.43] If It Be Your Will
20. [06:48.10] First We Take Manhattan
21. [05:13.44] Sisters of Mercy
22. [06:30.09] Closing Time
23. [08:58.54] I Tried to Leave You
24. [02:52.06] Whither Thou Goest (Guy Singer after the Book of Ruth 1:16)

Here she be:

FLAC, 771 Mb:
http://depositfiles.com/files/7108045
http://depositfiles.com/files/7108850
http://depositfiles.com/files/7109633
http://depositfiles.com/files/7110439
http://depositfiles.com/files/7111252
http://depositfiles.com/files/7112025
http://depositfiles.com/files/7112698
http://depositfiles.com/files/7113614
http://depositfiles.com/files/7113656

mp3, 320kbps, 375 Mb:
http://depositfiles.com/files/7114284
http://depositfiles.com/files/7115026
http://depositfiles.com/files/7115825
http://depositfiles.com/files/7116509

pass: drucen

Big thanks to iraklis and the original poster

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August 15, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, Music_ClassicSong, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

Sharon Robinson: Exchanging the letters with Leonard Cohen

Interesting piece below from leonardcohencroatia

Sharon Robinson: Exchanging the letters with Leonard Cohen

An interview with Tom Sakic, Marie Mazur, Joe Way and Jurica Staresincic

Leonard Cohen has not collaborated with many. Yet, two of his best songs, »Everybody Knows« and »Waiting For The Miracle«, were the result of his musical marriage with Sharon Robinson.

Then came Ten New Songs, an entire album blending these two and their lyrical and musical genius. Their work together has been stunning.

But we know little about Sharon Robinson, except what is revealed in these collaborative songs. How wonderful it would be to have an opportunity to talk with her about her work with Leonard, their musical partnership and what she has learned about and from the man. Then a twist of fate, an email address, a note to her, and Sharon’s most gracious consent to let us inside her world of music.

Thank you Sharon, for the really revealing talk and for the great interest you put into your responses. We appreciate it very much, and we hope to hear soon about your next projects.

And thanks to those who contributed questions.

Tom Sakic

»Dear Tom, Marie, Joe, and Jurica

Thank you for your interest in my work. I’ll try to answer some of your questions.

Sharon«

Here’s another post-monastery record from Leonard Cohen, to the joy of those people who didn’t lose their faith he’d go back to the world (following his late mother’s advice). The mysterious Sharon Robinson is also here again with him, but this time only partially – just three tracks. Why’s that? Is your musical affair with Leonard Cohen coming to an end, or will there be more collaborations, but no more »duet albums«?

I hope to always collaborate with Leonard. There are a few things on the back burner that I expect we will get back to shortly.

What do you think about Dear Heather now after the album is out and the wide responses to it have been received?


I think Dear Heather is a brilliant album. I’m kind of partial to the spoken-word tracks, »To A Teacher«, »Morning Glory«. I like the experimental quality the record has. I don’t think there’s a rule that art has to conform to a prescribed set of parameters. This album breaks several molds. I like that. Anjani’s voice is beautiful. Her work is superb. And I love »The Letters«.


Looking at the liner notes, it is interesting to note how Leonard never let you meet Anjani or vice versa. There are two pretty clear and divided parts of this record, not only in terms of singing or arranging, but also in production. Why is this so? It can seem that Leonard, after his days with Sharon Robinson, is moving out to a new period in his late career. How is it that those two tracks you co-wrote (leaving Lord Byron’s adaptation out of this) are – as was Ten New Songs – first of all, sung, and then also traditionally crafted, lyrically structured, and also involved in some recognizable Cohen cosmogony, about which he spoke in Ten New Songs interviews? The rest of this new album, let’s call it non-Sharon tracks, seem more dispersed, experimental, unfinished, spoken-cum-chanted, jazzy, improvised, etc. Some of those tracks are equally fascinating – like »Morning Glory« – but it’s amazing the difference between that song and, let’s say, »The Letters«.

Leonard had the very clear intention to try something different for Dear Heather. He talked about not wanting to be bound by the »song form«. So even though we had started on a few things in our usual fashion, he started working largely on his own, spending hours at a time at his keyboard. We’re all very used to records that are comprised of a series of »songs« with a beginning, middle and end, but Leonard was going for something else with this record.

Those three tracks of yours on Dear Heather, were they out-takes left after the final cut of Ten New Songs was done, but recorded originally in that period, or were they made purposely for Dear Heather? It’s hard to see them as recorded at the same time as other Dear Heather tracks; they’re so different.

The three tracks I did for Dear Heather were recorded at around the same time as the others, but in a different setting. Except for some of the mixing, I for the most part produced the songs at my studio, and the others were mostly done at Leonard’s.

The album opens with the adaptation of Lord Byron’s poem »Go No More A-Roving«, with pleasant and up-beat arrangements, and very smoky and relaxed atmosphere. You aren’t credited for the music; the words are Byron’s. Is the music completely Leonard’s? What exactly were your contributions to this track?


The music for »Go No More A-Roving« was written completely by Leonard. He asked me to do an arrangement for it, so I went over, and he played it for me. We then talked about a possible feel for the arrangement. The relaxed shuffle was the direction Leonard wanted to try first. I recorded a reference cassette of him singing and playing the melody, and then went back to my studio to start on the track. This one didn’t come quickly or easily. We worked on the arrangement off and on over several months, trying different tempos and feels, taking things out and putting them back, shelving and unshelving, changing keys, looking for a certain elusive quality. Sometimes I think I’m still working on it! Finally we ended up with something very close to where we started that everyone seemed to like. Bob Sheppard’s sax was the icing on the cake on a track that we felt defied description, but just sounded good.


»The Letters«. Already heralded by many critics as the »classic Cohen« and »the best song on the album«. The duet of Leonard’s life, in my opinion. We remember your duetting on »Joan Of Arc« during the 1980 tour, and we know that you sang solo verses on Ten New Songs tracks like »Here It Is« and »Boogie Street«, but on the last two these were, after all, just the choruses. Is this the duet of your life? What do you think, who’s the addressee of this song?

I’m very happy to hear that »The Letters« is being noticed and well received. Of all the things I’ve done, it’s definitely one of my favorite. I’m always thrilled to play a part in Leonard’s work, no matter how large or small, but a duet on a song that I wrote with him is about as good as it gets. The addressee? Give it another listen.


Could you describe the process of creating this song? What did Leonard bring to you and what did you contribute?

My part in »The Letters« started with Leonard sending a finished or nearly finished lyric to me, as was the case with most of the songs on Ten New Songs. I then studied the lyric to find clues to mood, tempo and form. The rest of the process of writing this particular song is a little hard to remember, which tells me that it was one of those that falls out of the sky. Thankfully, that happens sometimes. It makes up for the ones you slave over. I did a reference vocal and we lived with it for a while. The track seemed to demand to be left alone, unadorned, allowing entry into the room, into the story. Leonard liked my vocal very much, and after experimenting with several approaches to the vocal, he decided it should be a duet.


This track has a fascinating structure. It starts as a typical Ten New Songs track, with that old and known Leonard Cohen’s strategy of acoustic first verse and introduction of all instruments from the 2nd verse (what he mostly exploited in live arrangements); the »instruments« now mostly meaning the strong, synthesized bass line. Then you come in for the joined refrain, and then your solo part comes. After the finishing verse, Leonard’s reciting the complete song, and last two lines are spoken – after the music fades out– in complete silence. (Also, it’s worth mentioning that you aren’t singing in multiple vocals on this track.) How was this stunning effect developed?

As I mentioned, we liked the spareness that we had going on »The Letters«, so there was no feeling for stacked background vocals. Leonard’s recitation at the end was an outcome of the various approaches to the vocal we had been experimenting with.


It is noted that on the last three Leonard Cohen’s records there regularly was one long, heart-breaking and melancholic song. On The Future, there was »Waiting For The Miracle«, which you co-wrote. Then there was »A Thousand Kisses Deep« on Ten New Songs, and it has been mentioned as reminiscent of your The Future contribution. It seems that »The Letters« is that type of song for this release?

I wasn’t aware of the correlation, but I suppose one could look at it that way.


You introduced one »real« instrument as the main structural motif for all of your three Dear Heather tracks, or at least that effect, thus maybe responding to some critical remarks about the previous record. On »The Letters«, there’s one prominent melancholic sound, which seems like a guitar, harpsichord or something similar, with programmed strings. What is it?

The prominent sound on »The Letters« is a guitar sample by Hans Zimmer.


The same goes for your last involvement on this release, »There For You«. That track has hypnotic rhythm, and it’s driven by strong, synthesized instrumentation similar to a mandolin or the famous oud. It’s pretty catching and not far from the »Everybody Knows« performance – namely, that 1988 song was also synthesized but driven by the real John Bilezikjian’s oud.

The stringed instruments on »There For You« are also samples of live instruments such as mandolin and oud, by Hans Zimmer and others, played on a keyboard.


How did your collaboration on Ten New Songs developed? It was reported that you actually weren’t innocent – that you came to Leonard with an actual hidden plan to get him to write songs with you. Was he still at the monastery and did you get him to leave? I know you were also involved with Zen and, I believe, Roshi. How is it that you have the same spiritual tendencies as Leonard, and how your recent full collaboration developed?

Don’t believe everything you read! I didn’t see Leonard much during the time he was at the monastery, but bumped into him in 1999 at a movie theater after he had come back. I invited him to a piano recital that my son (his God son) was playing, and it was there that he asked me to work with him on an album. It came as a total surprise. I was turned on to Zen by Leonard during a conversation we had on a plane in 1979. I subsequently met and studied with Roshi.


Since you never spoke about your collaboration with Leonard, it is presumed that he wrote all the lyrics, and that you wrote the music. Was it actually like that – it’s hard to believe he let the music totally out of his influence. Can you tell us more about the complete process? Somebody wrote that you made the complete structure of the song from his lyrics: what will be the refrain, what will be which verse. Did you actually start with his poem, and then set it to song? Did you write a single line; namely, the songs are completely credited, both music and words, to »Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson«?

On Ten New Songs, Leonard did write all of the lyrics, as he has on all of the songs we’ve written together. If I had any influence on the lyrics, it was only in the way in which one hears things differently when a particular person is in the room. For me, it was almost as if the words were a kind of teaching and I, or both Leonard and I, were the students. During the time we were working, the words seemed to inform and illuminate everyday life. There was an experiential quality to it, more to it than just writing songs. But the domain of the words was definitely Leonard’s. In terms of the music, I did start with a poem, find the structure, write the melody, and do the arrangements, but the way I approached it was to give Leonard concepts that he could either accept or pass on. If he didn’t think it worked, I’d go and try something else, or at times I’d present a few ideas at once. So in actuality, Leonard was really completely involved creatively in the music. I respect Leonard’s musicianship and his deep connection to his own work, so I never had the appetite to insist on anything he didn’t want. My goal here as producer was to get what he wanted in the can. As I got more used to the process for that particular record, Leonard’s voice, the overall story that was being told by the lyrics, and the tone the album was taking on, it became easier to know what was going to work and what wasn’t.


Did you discuss with Leonard matters of rhythm, major or minor key, time signature etc. prior to your musical creations?

Usually after I’d spent some time with the words, I’d give Leonard some shorthand idea of what I thought might be a good direction, or if he had a specific idea, he’d let me know. Other than that, my creative choices were based on parameters that seemed to present themselves. The depth of the lyrics seemed to require an equal amount of time, so the melodies are spare, not fast or busy. These were words written during a period of deep contemplation, and seemed to require an equal measure of thoughtfulness in the music.

And Leonard’s vocal range being somewhat limited, I wrote melodies that didn’t go all over the place, but had more of an internal kind of motion. It was challenging, but I think it led to some of my best work.


In the 1997 documentary Spring 96, we saw Leonard singing the first version of »A Thousand Kisses Deep«. Only the head line survived in the 2001 version. That version was an excellent love song with very good melody, but its words weren’t appropriate to your version of music, because with the new melody it became pretty transcendental song. We know that there was Leonard’s version of »In My Secret Life« also, and he discarded both because he »loved your version best«. What happened to those tracks?

I’m not really familiar with earlier versions of these songs.


Were any other of the numerous verses of »A Thousand Kisses Deep« recorded? Leonard mentioned once that the discarded verses may be resurrected for other projects. Do he or you continue to work on them?

Yes, we are working with those verses for a future project.


It has been reported that you planned to replace your programming and multiple vocals with instruments and back up vocalists, namely, that the released Ten New Songs were actually demo versions you made for Leonard? So, he decided to go on with the working version? What is your opinion on that, especially regarding the fact that there are some fans who weren’t happy with such arrangements? How did it come about that basically the same method was used on the new tracks? Namely, I see it as the core of Leonard’s style – from acoustic ascetic of guitars to acoustic-electronic ascetic of computers.

The arrangements on Ten New Songs did start out as my demos. But once the decision was made not to go with live players, the arrangements were worked on quite extensively, fleshing them out and making them, finally, anything but demos. Leonard has said that he’s prepared to »defend every note« as a choice made consistent with an overall idea. That idea being a certain controlled sound that he felt worked with the material, contrasting and framing his voice, and giving the record a unique sound. Whether you have a musician playing an instrument, or a musician playing a sample of an instrument, you still have music. I would say that at the point in time that these recordings were made, these were deliberate choices made by the artist, and they cannot really be argued with.


Do you think about Leonard’s voice ability while writing the music?

You must consider the style and facility of the artist for whom you’re writing. As I said earlier, the limitations of Leonard’s range forced me to write melodies that I think through their simplicity, achieve a certain comforting clarity and helped to define the character of the record. In that sense, I think a limitation became a strength. I’m sure there’s an old Eastern proverb for that somewhere.


You do a beautiful duet with Leonard on »Alexandra Leaving«, one of Leonard’s most poignant songs. Do you have to coax Leonard to sing more? On Dear Heather, how did it come about that he actually sings only on your tracks?

Thank you for your words about »Alexandra Leaving«, definitely one of my favorites. I believe that the reason Leonard is singing more on the tracks I did with him is because they were among the first to be recorded for Dear Heather. I think it was after that that he decided to take a less structured approach to the album.


We heard from Leonard that Ten New Songs was recorded in his garage. Can you tell us something more?

Yes, we both have studios in our garages. It’s a great way to work. There is a lot of freedom in being able to lay down an idea at any time, or work as much or as little on a given day as is productive.


Where’s your production home and where were those three Dear Heather tracks made? Did you ever join the sessions for other new tracks?

My studio, Small Mercies Studio, is at my home in the Hollywood hills. I produced those three songs in very much the same manner as I did the songs on Ten New Songs, except I think we did some of the lead vocals at my studio instead of at Leonard’s. My only involvement with the other songs on Dear Heather was in helping Leonard and Leanne in the mastering sessions as a third pair of ears.


Can you say something about technology? Did you use synthesizers, or something more recent, like Pro Tools software?

I tend to use samples of live instruments, software based synths, hardware samplers, and, yes, Pro Tools. I often play the parts direct in, and I also play percussion.


Do you ever think about commercial or critical response to the songs? Namely, your arrangements were surely a big help in making Ten New Songs so successful in many European countries. Also, the first response of some Central European radio stations reports that mostly your tracks on Dear Heather are getting airplay time. Is »radio friendly« your musical politics?

The radio honestly never crosses my mind when I’m working on something for Leonard. But if my melodies and Leonard’s words and voice should combine to the liking of radio, I couldn’t be happier.


What is your favourite song on Ten New Songs and why?

I don’t know if I can really pick a favorite song on Ten New Songs. Lyrically, I’m probably most moved by »A Thousand Kisses Deep«, »Love Itself«, and »Alexandra Leaving«. I also like those songs for their melodies. I like »Here It Is« and »By The Rivers Dark« for their haunting and hypnotic qualities. It’s hard to say, because although I think each song stands on its own, they also work together as a whole, polishing each other like stones, to use Leonard’s analogy.


What song was the most difficult or took the longest and why?

The most time consuming song was probably »By The Rivers Dark«. It started out as a completely different song and, over a long period of time, finally morphed into what it is now. It was like a three-month lesson: if it isn’t right, it isn’t right, and you can’t pretend that it is. My Zen training was really helpful right about then.


It has been reported that you were introduced to Leonard’s band in 1979 by Jennifer Warnes. But how did you meet her and how were you actually introduced to the musical business at all?

I think Jennifer got my name from another session singer that we had both worked with. Except for a couple of short-lived »day jobs«, I’ve always made my living in music.


How old were you when you met Leonard, and can you tell us something about your first days and that tour of 1979?

I consider being hired for the Field Commander tour to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. Mostly because of the music. The whole experience was magical. Being on stage in beautiful halls, performing »The Guests« and »Hey, That’s No Way To Say Goodbye« with brilliant musicians and a rapt audience. Leonard’s words. Jenny’s unbelievable voice. And the icing on the cake for me: after intermission, listening from offstage as Leonard went out by himself to do »The Stranger Song«. As you can tell, the experience resonates with me still. It was great being part of that tour.


Were you familiar with Leonard’s work – as a writer or musician – by that time?

Before I worked with him, I was, like many Americans, really only familiar with Leonard’s more famous songs.


In 1980 Leonard went out to tour again with the same musicians. Jennifer Warnes dropped out. How did that go, especially regarding the fact that you were left as the only back up singer?

I’m not sure why Leonard decided not to replace Jenny, but in the end it worked out pretty well because Roscoe Beck (bass) and Mitch Watkins (guitar) sang with me on the songs that really needed the additional parts, and I think they did a great job.


»Summertime«, you wrote on your site it’s actually the first track you wrote with Leonard. When was it started and finished? Was it never meant to be sung by Leonard? It sounds like a song for a woman to sing; it’s very hard to imagine Leonard singing it.

I’d had the melody for »Summertime« for some time, but hadn’t found the lyric. I remember being in a hotel lobby waiting for the tour bus with the rest of the gang, and noticing a grand piano. I started playing the song and Leonard came over, walked around the piano several times listening to the melody, and wrote the body of the words in a few minutes. It was great fun.


It was reported that Jennifer Warnes performed an early version of »Waiting For The Miracle« in 1988, maybe even recorded it for her Famous Blue Raincoat album. You co-wrote the song, at least the 1992 version. What can you tell us about that, when was the song started and finished, what’s about Warnes’ version? There was an 1985 out-take also! When did you become involved?

I wrote »Waiting For The Miracle« with Leonard I think in about 1985. I’d have to look through my notebooks to tell you exactly. I made a demo of the song with Roscoe Beck playing incredible blues guitar. I seem to recall that Jennifer was going to record it for Famous Blue Raincoat, or did, but didn’t use it. It was sent out at times by my publisher, and was put on hold at different times by Stevie Ray Vaughn and Robert Cray, but not recorded until Leonard cut it for The Future.


Are you curious about the meaning of the songs, such as »Everybody Knows«? Do you question Leonard about the meaning of his songs and how forthcoming is he in answering? Is it actually vital to your work to understand the song completely?

It is vitally important to understand the meaning of the songs when writing the music. I don’t really like asking what the words mean because the whole point is for the words to speak for themselves. So I arrive at it by studying them on my own and by whatever basic understanding I have of Leonard and his work. Of course, the meaning gradually deepens as you work on the song, and makes its appearance in everyday life as you become steeped in the process. Sometimes Leonard will volunteer an explanation and just start riffing on the idea of the song, which makes me wish I could put that moment in a bottle.


Why didn’t you sing with Leonard before Ten New Songs, on »Everybody Knows« or »Waiting For The Miracle«?

Even though I was writing with Leonard, I wasn’t part of his band at the time.


In the end, who actually is Sharon Robinson? We know you’re a Grammy winner, but there’s almost no other information about you, not even when you were born? How were you raised and educated?

I was born in San Francisco, California. My parents were real estate and restaurant entrepreneurs. We moved to Los Angeles when I was quite young and I grew up here, interestingly, about a block from Leonard’s L.A. home. I studied classical piano from the age of 6, became fairly accomplished at it, started writing and recording songs at age 12, worked after school at the parents’ restaurants (the radio was always on), was a national merit finalist, attended a small college in West Virginia for three years as a liberal arts major, auditioned and got into California Institute of the Arts where I studied for only a year as the need to make a living prevailed. The real musical education began when I started singing and playing piano in bands, night after night on the road, covering songs by all of the great recording artists of our time. I relied on my ears a lot, but the formal training was invaluable for »reading« at sessions, writing, and arranging.


What were your musical influences in the beginning? What about now, except – I guess – Leonard Cohen? You’ve actually been cathegorized by AllMusic.com as »gospel« and »urban soul«.

I haven’t seen the reference, but I think there is some confusion at AllMusic with another singer of the same name, because I haven’t done much gospel work. I guess you could say I’ve had a very wide range of influences musically, from Classical to Soul and R and B, from Folk to Jazz.


Recently you worked with less known (at least in Europe) Columbia artist Chris Botti. You even wrote two new songs for his album A Thousand Kisses Deep. Was it different than before, with your new experience with Ten New Songs?

It was fun writing for a jazz artist. I was able to draw from something that I know is there, but I hardly ever get to use.


What’s Sharon Robinson doing when she’s not producing Leonard Cohen songs?

I am currently writing and producing my own first album, which will include two of the songs I wrote with Leonard, »Summertime« and »Everybody Knows«.


What’s coming next? As Perla Batalla said when she released her first solo record: Where can you go after Leonard Cohen?

There are a number of very interesting things on the horizon. I’ll keep you posted at my website at www.sharonrobinson.net.


This interview was conducted via e-mails in November 2004.

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, OTHER_ARTICLE, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

Leonard Cohen / Sharon Robinson – Everybody Knows

Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful, give or take a night or two
A classic track, co-written by Leonard Cohen and Sharon Robinson, in a performance from Lenny’s current World Tour.

Sharon Robinson appears in the clip as part of Lenny’s magnificent backing band.

Everybody Knows is the title track of Sharon’s great new solo album. Read about it HERE

Everybody knows that the dice are loaded
Everybody rolls with their fingers crossed
Everybody knows that the war is over
Everybody knows the good guys lost
Everybody knows the fight was fixed
The poor stay poor, the rich get rich
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows
Everybody knows that the boat is leaking
Everybody knows that the captain lied
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

Everybody talking to their pockets
Everybody wants a box of chocolates
And a long stem rose
Everybody knows

Everybody knows that you love me baby
Everybody knows that you really do
Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
Ah give or take a night or two
Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
But there were so many people you just had to meet
Without your clothes
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

And everybody knows that it’s now or never
Everybody knows that it’s me or you
And everybody knows that you live forever
Ah when you’ve done a line or two
Everybody knows the deal is rotten
Old Black Joe’s still pickin’ cotton
For your ribbons and bows
And everybody knows

And everybody knows that the Plague is coming
Everybody knows that it’s moving fast
Everybody knows that the naked man and woman
Are just a shining artifact of the past
Everybody knows the scene is dead
But there’s gonna be a meter on your bed
That will disclose
What everybody knows

And everybody knows that you’re in trouble
Everybody knows what you’ve been through
From the bloody cross on top of Calvary
To the beach of Malibu
Everybody knows it’s coming apart
Take one last look at this Sacred Heart
Before it blows
And everybody knows

Everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Oh everybody knows, everybody knows
That’s how it goes
Everybody knows

Everybody knows

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows – Live 2008

Leonard Cohen performs “Everybody Knows” at Manchester Opera House on 18th June 2008.


Here’s a great clip by Beauchard where various strange images are overlaid onto the great song!

Big thanks to the original posters

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July 25, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, Music_ClassicSong, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC, _POETRY, _VIDEO | Leave a comment

Sharon Robinson – Everybody Knows

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Sharon Robinson – Everybody Knows
July 2008 – Jazz / Contemporary
Everybody got this broken feeling
Like their father or their dog just died

I’ve been enjoying this great LP from Sharon Robinson for the past week or so. It’s a real summer delight!

Robinson has for many years been well known in the music scene as a songwriter, musician, singer and producer. Her songs have been covered by a wide array of well known artists and she has performed with some giants of modern music. Just look at her profile at the end of this post to see the extent of her work!

//www.leonardcohen.com/images/ph_videos.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Sharon is probably best known though for her work with the one of the greatest song craftsmen of all time, King Leonard Cohen!

She has co-written some great songs with Lenny (including all the tracks on 2001’s Ten New Songs), produced one Lenny album (Ten New Songs), appeared on a number of different Lenny albums, and is currently part of Lenny’s wonderful tour band.

Three of the tracks on this LP are co-written with Cohen – Everybody Knows, Alexandra Leaving and Summertime.

These three tracks are majestic pieces of songwriting. The seminal title track Everybody Knows, was originally recorded by Lenny on his majestic ‘comeback” album “I’m Your Man” while Alexandra Leaving was recorded on “Ten New Songs”.

Nice piece where Leonard Cohen shares his thoughts on his recording of Alexandra Leaving:

Leonard Cohen on "Alexandra Leaving" Alexandra Leaving
(3 min. 41 sec.)
HI | LO [Windows Media]

However, the least known of these three joint-written tracks, Summertime, a supremely beautiful and haunting song is, for me, not only the highlight of this album, but one of the most beautiful songs I’ve heard in a long time.

This sublime track was written while they were on the road together during the 1979 “Field Commander Cohen Tour” and was subsequently recorded by both Diana Ross and Roberta Flack.

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In this new album, Robinson is proudly stepping out of the great man’s shadow and with a series of wonderful tracks, taking giant steps towards creating her own artistic legacy.

Sharon’s own songs are of exceptionally high quality too and show that she’s learned much during her years with the great master.
At their best, her songs bear the Lenny hallmarks of exquisite wordplay, wit and craftsmanship, strong intelligent lyrics overlaying suitably apposite and beautiful melody. This reaches its apotheosis on great tracks such as Invisible Tattoo and Party for the Lonely.

And let’s not forget Sharon’s beautiful singing voice and idiosyncratic singing style! She sure can belt em out a tad better than Lenny! She’s also a very accomplished, classically trained musician!

All in all, this album is a refreshingly wonderful collection, a pure joy. It’s a must have for all true music fans, let alone fans of the great Leonard Cohen!

My CD player is almost worn out from playing this album! Check it out now mofos!

Sharon Robinson - Everybody Knows

You can hear some tracks and buy the album here.

Click on CD cover (left) to listen & purchase

Alternatively click HERE; CDBABY

Many of these great tracks can be heard on Sharon’s MYSPACE page, a few may even be downloadable from there.
By the way, the LP’s cover artwork is a nice painting of Sharon done by Lenny !


Tracklisting

1. Invisible Tattoo 4:26

2. Party for the Lonely 3:41

3. Everybody Knows 5:26

4. The Train 3:45

5. Secondhand 3:40

6. Forever In a Kiss 4:04

7. The High Road 4:09

8. Sustenance 4:03

9. Alexandra Leaving 5:06

10. Summertime 3:51

//i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg219/skmartists/combo-shLeo1.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.As for live appearances by Robinson, right now, Sharon’s committed to the Cohen Tour for the next year as more dates are planned for Autumn and into the new year.

The good news though is that Sharon will be doing a few spot dates!

These include an opening slot at the Hollywood Bowl on Aug. 27 and a festival in Dublin on Aug. 29 and 30.

Be sure to check her out!!

Extracts from reviews;

“A Phenomenal Project!” … “Robinson’s intelligent lyrics, excellent production andriveting alto voice define the word “compelling” to my ear.”

Carol Archer, Smooth Jazz Editor, R&R

“Invisible Tattoo,” is the new album’s signature track and one of the finest adult pop songs of 2008.” ….. “And in a market that is deathly short on intelligent, high quality adult pop music, Everybody Knows is an auspicious, welcome first offering by a talented artist whose time in the sun has thankfully arrived.”

Chris Rizik, SoulTracks

“A Knockout!…The best I’ve heard in a long time.” .. “Beautiful songs, great arrangements and a super voice.”

Alex Allan, Nevis Radio, Scotland

Review from http://www.soultracks.com/

It seems odd that Sharon Robinson is classified as a “new artist,” but after two notable decades in the music business, she is finally letting the world discover what music insiders have known for years. Though she’s spent the most time as a supporting vocalist for artists ranging from Stevie Nicks to Aaron Neville, Robinson is best known in the industry as a Grammy-nominated songwriter, having collaborated for several years with legendary lyricist Leonard Cohen. Similar to Gordon Chambers’ transition five years ago, Robinson is now moving to the forefront to display her formidable skills with 2008’s Everybody Knows.

The most obvious and expected influence on Everybody Knows is Cohen, whose 2001 album Ten New Songs was produced by Robinson. But perhaps even more powerful a comparison is to another former Robinson accomplice, Brenda Russell, especially on “Invisible Tattoo,” the new album’s signature track and one of the finest adult pop songs of 2008. Hinting at the vibe of Russell’s “Piano In the Dark,” but with Robinson’s smoky alto voice floating over a deep groove reminiscent of Sade’s best work, the cut is mesmerizing, and sets a high opening bar for the album.

The rest of Everybody Knows is immensely interesting, though perhaps too consistently downbeat for most listeners. Rich, occasionally oblique lyricism pervades the ten moody, ambient pieces, providing a sense of gravitas that is atypical for modern adult soul music. The mood works best on the title cut and on the beautiful Aaron Neville-like track, “The High Road,” a chilling song about a sad-but-resigned lover attempting to maintain her dignity at the end of a relationship.

The compelling lyrical content takes the disc a long way, nearly making it essential. But the album is dragged down by an overall sameness in tempo and Robinson’s attractive but unchangingly breathy vocals, making it impossible to sustain for the entire CD the enthusiasm brought by the opening cuts. While any of the ten cuts is worthy on its own (put your iPod on shuffle for this one), each loses impact when all are joined together, back to back, over an hour. But despite the lack of sonic variety, it is tough to find fault with the consistent strong material that graces it the album. And in a market that is deathly short on intelligent, high quality adult pop music, Everybody Knows is an auspicious, welcome first offering by a talented artist whose time in the sun has thankfully arrived. Recommended.

By Chris Rizik

PROFILE – SHARON ROBINSON

Songs by Sharon Robinson

On “Dear Heather”:

Both songs written with Leonard Cohen
recorded by Leonard Cohen on “Dear Heather”:

“The Letters”
“There For You”

On “Ten New Songs”:

All these songs written with Leonard Cohen
recorded by Leonard Cohen on “Ten New Songs”:

“A Thousand Kisses Deep”

Also recorded by Chris Botti on “A Thousand Kisses Deep”, and by several others

“In My Secret Life”
“Alexandra Leaving”
“Love Itself”
“That Don’t Make it Junk”
“By the Rivers Dark”
“Here It Is”
“You Have Loved Enough”
“Boogie Street”
“The Land of Plenty”

Other songs:

“Everybody Knows”

written with: Leonard Cohen
recorded by: Leonard Cohen on “I’m Your Man”, “Cohen Live” , “More Best Of” ; Concrete Blonde on “Ghost of a Texas Ladies Man” and “Pump up the Volume” soundtrack album ; Don Henley on “Actual Miles- Henley’s Greatest Hits” , and many others.

“Waiting For the Miracle”

written with: Leonard Cohen
recorded by: Leonard Cohen on “The Future” , “Natural Born Killers” soundtrack album , “Wonder Boys” soundtrack album

“New Attitude”

written with: Bunny Hull and John Gilutin
recorded by: Patti LaBelle on “Beverly Hills Cop” soundtrack album , “Patti LaBelle Live” , and many others

“Summertime”

written with: Leonard Cohen
recorded by: Diana Ross on “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues” , Roberta Flack on “Set the Night to Music”

“Every Day of My Life”

recorded by: Aaron Neville on “The Tatooed Heart”

“Life’s Lessons”

recorded by: Carl Anderson on “Pieces of a Heart”

“This is the Love”

recorded by: Randy Crawford on “Rich and Poor”

“All American”

written with: Brenda Russell
recorded by: Brenda Russell on “Kiss me with the Wind”

“Hot Together”

recorded by: The Pointer Sisters on “Hot Together” , “Stakeout” soundtrack album

“Inner Rhythm”

written with: Matthew Wilder
recorded by: Donny Osmond on “Donny Osmond” and “Best of Donny Osmond”

“I Got Your Number”

written with: Hamish Stuart
recorded by: The Temptations on “Together Again”

“Cross My Heart”

written with: Hamish Stuart
recorded by: Diana Ross on “Red Hot Rhythm & Blues”

“A Man and A Woman”

recorded by: Ute Lemper on “Crimes of the Heart” , Amy Keys on on “Lover’s Intuition”

“If I Could”

written with: Chris Botti
recorded by: Chris Botti on “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

“Do It In Luxury”

written with: Chris Botti and Keefus Chauncia recorded by: Chris Botti on “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

“That Was Then, This Is Now”

written with: Soulshock and Carlin
recorded by: Vanessa Rubin on “New Horizons”

“The High Road”

recorded by: Bettye LaVette on “I’ve got my own hell to raise”

Film and Television

“Beverly Hills Cop”

USA 1985 “New Attitude”

“Exotica”

Canada 1994 “Everybody Knows”

“Pump up the volume”

USA 1990 “Everybody Knows”

“Stakeout”

USA “Hot Together”

“Natural Born Killers”

USA 1994 “Waiting for the Miracle”

“Platinum”

Canada 1997 “Waiting for the Miracle”

“Kiss the sky”

USA 1998 “Waiting for the miracle”

“Sex TV” (TV series)

Canada 199X “Everybody Knows”

“Wonder boys”

USA 2000 “Waiting for the miracle”

“Judging Amy” (Episode in TV series)

USA 2001 “Everybody Knows” (Don Henley)

“Amnesia”

Italy 2002 “In My Secret Life “

“Pomor Tuljana”

Croatia 2002 “Everybody Knows”

“The Good Thief “

USA 2003 “ A Thousand Kisses Deep”

“The Favourite Game”

Canada 2003 “A Thousand Kisses Deep”

“Amateur Man” (Two episodes in TV series)

Greece 2003 “Waiting for the miracle”

“Land of Plenty”

USA 2004 “The Letters” and “The Land of Plenty”

“L Word” (episode in TV series)

USA 2004 “In My Secret Life”

“Nathalie”

France 2004 “Boogie Street”

Awards

“New Attitude”

Grammy Nominations (3) for Best R&B Song, Best Soundtrack Album (“Beverly Hills Cop”), best R&B vocal performance (Patti LaBelle)

“New Attitude”

Grammy for Best Soundtrack Album (“Beverly Hills Cop”) (1985)

Touring and Concerts

Leonard Cohen 1979, 1980, 2008
Ann-Margret Show 1976-1985
Brenda Russell
Thelma Houston
Rick Nelson
Sweet Inspirations
John Baldry
Lead singer in numberless top 40 bands

Session Work

Patti LaBelle
Michael Bolton
Brenda Russell
Stevie Nicks
Morris Day
Robbie Krieger
Jennifer Warnes
Patrice Rushen
Leonard Cohen
Aaron Neville

Studies

Ethel Newman – classical piano
Salem College, W.Va.
California Institute of the Arts
Oxford Theater, Los Angeles
Kyozan Joshu Sasaki, Roshi

July 25, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, Music_ClassicSong, Music_Jazz, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC | Leave a comment

My life with Leonard – Sharon Robinson

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Nice piece by Sharon on her work, collaboration and friendship with King Lenny.

Keep an eye out for Sharon’s impending new album Everybody Knows.

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More Sharon here;

http://www.sharonrobinsonmusic.com/
http://www.myspace.com/sharonrobinson1


http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/


My life with Leonard

By Sharon Robinson


I first met Leonard when I auditioned for the Field Commander Cohen tour in 1979. I had been working as a singer and dancer in Las Vegas and as a session singer in Los Angeles. I knew of famous songs such as “Suzanne”, but I wasn’t that familiar with Leonard. My background is blues and R&B. So I didn’t really know what to expect. The audition was at a rehearsal space in LA. The band was up on the stage and Leonard was sitting on a couch, listening. I remember noticing that he was really friendly and polite and gracious. And really handsome.

We became very good friends during the second half of that tour. I then studied Zen with him at Mount Baldy in the years following the tour. And that anchored our friendship. Later, we started writing together. Our first collaboration was on a song called “Summertime”, which we wrote on the road in 1980 and has been recorded by Roberta Flack and Diana Ross. I had the melody but I had not found a lyric. One day on tour, when the band was collecting in the lobby waiting to go to the airport, I noticed that there was a baby grand piano in the lobby and so I went over and started to play the melody.I asked Leonard to come over and check it out, which he did. He started walking around the lobby, looking up at the ceiling and counting the number of notes in the melody and in a few minutes had come up with a couple of verses for the song.

We didn’t work together that much during the late 1980s. I had signed a publishing deal with Universal and in 1985 I had a hit record with “New Attitude” for Patti LaBelle. I was also writing for The Pointer Sisters. Leonard was doing other things but we were there for each other as friends. In 1989 Leonard became godfather to my son, Michael, and he comes to the milestones in his life, such as piano recitals and birthday parties. For his 18th birthday Leonard gave him a book on how to mix martinis.

Leonard didn’t tell me he was going to enter Mount Baldy, but I knew that he was having difficulty. And of course I was concerned. He was very depressed during that period; he was drinking on that tour [for The Future]. I didn’t see him much during his time at Mount Baldy. I spoke to him a few times but didn’t go up. I was concerned, as all his friends were, but with someone like Leonard, you just have to trust that he’s doing what he has to do.

The next time I saw him was in 1999 when I ran into him outside a movie theatre in the Beverly Center Mall in LA.I didn’t know that he had come back from Mount Baldy. It was a complete surprise. He was wearing a double-breasted suit and his fedora. We didn’t hug or anything. He’s not a big huggy guy. I invited him to one of my son’s piano recitals and as we were standing outside the recital room Leonard asked me to work on an album [Ten New Songs] with him.

Sometime shortly after that I went over to his house and the first day, rather than going to a keyboard or handing me a verse, we sat down in his kitchen and he said, “Listen to this. I think this is so beautiful,” and we sat there for a very long time, listening to this Indonesian chant music, without talking. It was like a meditation. And that was it for the day. At the time it felt a little strange but now I see that what he was doing was trying to set the tone for the project.

It took us two years to make that album. Leonard would give me verses that he’d written, for the most part, while he was at Mount Baldy. And I tried to immerse myself in the meaning of the words, so the music would always serve those words. The process is really collaborative. Both of us prefer to do the dirty work in solitude. Then, when we’re happy with that, we present it to the other person. He either comes over to my house or I go to where he lives. I usually try to make a rough demo of my idea, in his key, so he can relate to it and he will be able to start singing along if he wants. Then I’ll bring that demo to Leonard and play it for him.

Leonard is well versed in many kinds of music. He listens to the music people give him, music recorded by friends and associates. He listens to Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, blues and R&B, Otis Redding. I see myself as part of his palette, to be a sounding board and to execute whatever we decided would work. It’s intimidating working with him if you think about it. So I try not to think about it.

When we had finished a song, we’d take a drive and listen to it on the car stereo to give us that extra objectivity. When you are working so intensely you can lose that objectivity. And when you’re in a studio you’re listening to the absolute best reproduction of the sound. But most people won’t hear it in that environment. So we’d go for a drive – the car test.

Leonard is a quiet, gracious person; he’s generous and contemplative. He always makes you feel that you are as important to him as he is to you. He references Chinese teaching stories, eastern philosophies and Jewish teaching devices to enlighten or inform a conversation. And though everyone thinks he is so serious, he has a fantastic sense of humour. He tells jokes. He cracks me up all the time.

He doesn’t exactly know what caused his depression to lift. Now he’s in a very good place. He’s enjoying his new book of poetry and his artwork. He’s enjoying being a grandfather and having a close relationship with his children. He’s enjoying touring again, too. The hotels keep giving him the VIP suite but he doesn’t like those huge rooms, so he always asks for a smaller one. We’re doing a lot of the old music and some of the arrangements are the same because Leonard’s fans are very attached to that old sound. The audiences have been amazing. His music speaks to the heart. It resonates on a very deep level where people are working to sort out their own emotions. We see people in tears out there.

Sharon Robinson is touring with Leonard Cohen this year as a backing singer. Her album ‘Everybody Knows’ will be available for digital download from early July and on CD from 19 August

June 17, 2008 Posted by | Leonard Cohen, OTHER_ARTICLE, Sharon Robinson, _MUSIC, _OTHER | Leave a comment