03 December 2009

Leonard Cohen songbook

This week ends where it began. You are looking (or about to look) at the official video of Dance me to the end of love. This song from Leonard Cohen songbook first appeared on his own album Various Positions (1984). Quickly becoming a standard, it has since been covered by many artists in various arrangements and styles.
According to Cohen himself, Dance me to the end of love is not about a passionate surrender to a beloved, but instead about a passionate surrender to death.
Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin...
Cohen stated that death represented a consummation of life, and poetry an evidence to life. "If your life is burning well," he claimed, "poetry is just the ash."
He explained that he was inspired to write and compose Dance me to the end of love by the string quartets in WW2 concentration camps.
Be that as it may, I find it difficult to connect with this reading of the song. My preference goes to the laid-back cover by Madeleine Peyroux as posted at the beginning of this week.
Other Cohen songs, posted earlier this week, were I'm your man (as performed by Nick Cave), Hallelujah (as performed by Jeff Buckley) and The stranger song (as performed by Leonard Cohen in McCabe and Mrs. Miller).
The choice of songs and artists was arbitrary. There were many excellent covers to choose from that were performed by artists such as Jarvis Cocker, Suzanne Vega, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Tori Amos, John Cale, k.d. lang and Laurie Anderson, to name only a few.
Can you imagine a more fitting crowd of performers?
A tower of song.

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