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This guy is the Jimi Hendrix of the organ. Other more peaceful tracks allow you time to recover and enjoy the passing scenery, listening to your own breath and footsteps. I think there are two main 5 note lietmotifs: Love and Fear, I suppose. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account.

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email. The organ from Temple Church. Like this: Like Loading Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. As far as I know, no one else comes close to this in modern music.

The song just comes in and states a fact. And after that anything can happen and it does, and Leonard allows it to happen.


His tone is far from condescending or mocking. The first line begins in a minor key. The second line goes from minor to major and steps up, and changes melody and variation. The third line steps up even higher than that to a different degree, and then the fourth line comes back to the beginning. This is a deceptively unusual musical theme, with or without lyrics. His version sounds less like the prettified Jeff Buckley version than like a work by John Lee Hooker. But this song has a connective chorus, which when it comes in has a power all of its own.

I like some of his later songs even better than his early ones. Dylan defended Cohen against the familiar critical reproach that his is music to slit your wrists by. Berlin was also connected to some kind of celestial sphere. And, like Leonard, he probably had no classical-music training, either. Both of them just hear melodies that most of us can only strive for. Both Leonard and Berlin are incredibly crafty. Leonard particularly uses chord progressions that seem classical in shape. Cohen has always found performing unnerving. He got halfway through the first verse and then stopped and mumbled an apology.

Since then, Cohen has played thousands of concerts all over the world, but it did not become second nature until he was in his seventies. He was never one of those musicians who talk about feeling most alive and at home onstage. In , Cohen, now accompanied by a full complement of musicians and singers, arrived in Jerusalem at the end of a long tour.

Just to be in that city was, for Cohen, a charged situation. The following year, during the war with Egypt, Cohen showed up in Israel, hoping to replace someone who had been drafted. He ended up performing, often many times a day, for the troops on the front. So if you do recognize this song, would you just wave your hands? He fumbled again, and what at first had seemed like performative charm now appeared to signal genuine anxiety. By then, it was apparent that there was a problem. No, it says in the Kabbalah that, unless Adam and Eve face each other, God does not sit on his throne, and somehow the male and female parts of me refuse to encounter one another tonight—and God does not sit on his throne.

And this is a terrible thing to have happen in Jerusalem. I went back to the dressing room, and I found some acid in my guitar case. Meanwhile, out in the hall, the audience started singing to Cohen as if to inspire him and call him back.

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I turned around and the band was crying, too. And then it turned into something in retrospect quite comic: the entire audience turned into one Jew!

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Judging me hardly begins to describe the operation. It was a sense of invalidation and irrelevance that I felt was authentic, because those feelings have always circulated around my psyche: Where do you get to stand up and speak? For what and whom? And how deep is your experience? How significant is anything you have to say? I think it really invited me to deepen my practice.

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Dig in deeper, whatever it was, take it more seriously. Back inside the dressing room, Cohen wept fiercely. But I just want to tell you, thank you and good night. And go. For many years, Cohen was more revered than bought. Although his albums generally sold well enough, they did not move on the scale of big rock acts. When she was eighteen, she was teaching dance and folksinging at a summer camp in the Adirondacks. One night, she met a handsome young man, a counsellor from another camp up the road.

He was from Liverpool. And there was the other thing, too. Once, after Cohen and Vega became friendly, he called and asked her to visit him at his hotel. They met out by the pool. He asked if she wanted to hear his latest song. A world of such allurements had costs as well as rewards. That relationship fizzled when the decade did. Touring had its charms, but it, too, wore down his spirits.

After a tour in , Cohen felt utterly depleted. But it went so beautifully with the music! I might as well have been drinking Wild Duck or whatever they call it.

I mean, it had no significance. At the same time, a long relationship with the actress Rebecca De Mornay was beginning to come undone. In the sense of being a husband and having more children and the rest. To this day, Cohen reads deeply in a multivolume edition of the Zohar, the principal text of Jewish mysticism; the Hebrew Bible; and Buddhist texts.

Cohen is also very much at home in the spiritual reaches of the Internet, and he listens to the lectures of Yakov Leib HaKohain, a Kabbalist who has converted, serially, to Islam, Catholicism, and Hinduism, and lives in the San Bernardino mountains with two pit bulls and four cats. Roshi, who died two years ago at the age of a hundred and seven, arrived in Los Angeles in but never quite learned the language of his adoptive home. Baldy, for periods of learning and meditation that stretched over two or three months a year. He considered Roshi a close friend, a spiritual master, and a deep influence on his work.

This time, he stayed for nearly six years. You are getting up at two-thirty in the morning; the camp wakes up at three, but you have to light fires in the zendo. The cabins are only heated a few hours a day. So in a certain sense you toughen up. Whether it has a spiritual aspect is debatable. It helps you endure, and it makes whining the least appropriate response to suffering. Cohen lived in a tiny cabin that he outfitted with a coffeemaker, a menorah, a keyboard, and a laptop. Like the other adepts, he cleaned toilets. For many hours a day, he sat in half lotus, meditating.

If he, or anyone else, nodded off during meditation or lost the proper position, one of the monks would come by and rap him smartly on the shoulder with a wooden stick. So a lot of the activity there is to get people to learn how to walk and speak and breathe and prepare their own meals or shovel their own paths in the winter.

Allen Ginsberg once asked Cohen how he could reconcile his Judaism with Zen. Zen made no mention of God; it demanded no scriptural devotion. For him, Zen was a discipline rather than a religion, a practice of investigation. Had Roshi been a professor of physics at the University of Heidelberg, Cohen says, he would have learned German and moved to Heidelberg. Roshi, toward the end of his life, was accused of sexual misconduct.

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He was never charged with any crime, but some former students, writing in Internet chat rooms and in letters to Roshi himself, said that he had sexually groped or coerced many Buddhist students and nuns. One morning, Bob Faggen drove me up the mountain to the Zen Center. A former Boy Scout camp, the center comprises a series of rough-hewn cabins surrounded by pines and cedars.

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