The legendary Canadian singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen has died this Friday at the age of 82, as reported by his family through a note on his official profile on the social network Facebook .
“We have lost one of the most revered and prolific visionaries in music ,” says the text, which does not give more details about the place or the causes of death. What the brief statement does specify is that a tribute to the artist will be organized in Los Angeles, the city where he resided, on a date yet to be determined.
In ‘Blackstar’, by David Bowie, the other great farewell album of this fateful 2016 for the history of music , there were messages that only made sense once the author died. With ‘You want it darker’ everything was clearer, although not entirely: Leonard Cohen said goodbye to this world, but with his particular set of poetic lenses. “Hineni”, like what Abraham responded to God (“Here I am”), sang in the title track of the album. “I’m ready, my Lord,” he announced then.
And yes, you can trace the metaphors about the life that was ending (“I get up from the table. I’m out of this game”, in ‘Leaving the table’; “I travel light, it’s an ‘au revoir’ “, in ‘Traveling light’), but in the end the important thing is always the same: God, love, memory, the blues, sex, time… Big themes that Cohen sang over and over again during their very long career, though they never sounded exhausted in their words.
‘So long, Marianne’ and ‘Famous blue raincoat’ will now sound, and we will remember the letter that Cohen sent to the one who was his muse after learning of her death, last August: “Well, Marianne, we have reached this time when we’re so old our bodies are falling apart , I think I ‘ll follow you soon enough , know that I’m so close to you that if you put out your hand, I think you might touch mine.”
And it is that everything in Cohen goes through poetry. More specifically, because of Lorca’s poetry, as the documentary ‘Omega’ recalls, about Morente’s revolutionary album with Lagartija Nick, with which the cantaor wanted to pay homage to the author of ‘Poeta en Nueva York’ through the canadian. Because Cohen entered poetry through Federico and it was because of him that he began to write books. That Jewish boy from the English-speaking area of Montreal who, quiet and solitary, began to collect verses until in 1956 he published his first book, ‘Let us compare mythologies’. More would come later, such as ‘Flowers for Hitler’ (1964), and even a novel, ‘Beautiful losers’ (1966).
A literary tour that anticipated his late entry into music, at the age of 33, through ‘Songs of Leonard Cohen’ (1967). There were ‘So long, Marianne’, ‘Suzanne’, ‘Sisters of Mercy’ and her voice that began to fade as soon as it opened. Also his nylon string guitar and the only four lessons he received on that instrument from a young Spanish flamenco guitarist who committed suicide before teaching the fifth.
Then came ‘Songs from a room’ (1969, with ‘Bird on wire’), ‘New skin for the old ceremony’ (1974, with ‘Chelsea Hotel 2’) and a slow wander through the music, unhurried. , until his second youth in the 80s, with his underground voice and fascinated by the sound of keyboards and synthesizers, with ‘Various positions’ (1984, in which ‘Dance me to the end of love’ appeared and, above all, the monumental ‘Hallelujah’) and ‘I’m your man’ (1988, with ‘First we take Manhattan’, ‘Everybody knows’ and his version of Lorca’s ‘Little Viennese Waltz’) . After ‘The Future’ (1992) he abandoned the madding crowd and retired to a Zen monastery.
A slap of reality that, paradoxically, prompted a new period of flourishing creativity, forced by the economic hole. First it was his reunion with the stages, in a very long tour between 2008 and 2013 that in Spain ended up for the first time in Lenny that left unique moments, such as his performance at the FIB or his passage by the Palacio de los Deportes in Madrid. The vast majority of the photos that will adorn his obituary correspond to this time, in which he appeared in a suit and hat, taking choreographic strides and stretching the performances up to three hours. The Principe de Asturias Award for Literature is also from this time, which he received (also in a suit and hat) in 2011. His creativity was also translated into a final trilogy of albums that make the to many albums by musicians 50 years younger and that make up ‘Old ideas’ (2012), ‘Popular problems’ (2014) and ‘You want it darker’ (2016).Cohen presented this latest album one day after Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. And although he had said in his last interview, with the ‘New Yorker’ magazine, that he was “ready to die” (in that press conference he wanted to downplay the matter, or not, and he assured that he wanted to ” live forever” ), the award to his colleague changed the focus of attention from fatalism to the fairness or not of the recognition of Dylan.
“It’s like putting a medal on Everest,” he assured with his usual enigmatic tone. And although the author of ‘Blowin’ in the wind’ has been the one who has done the most to bring the lyrics of popular music in the 20th century to adulthood, there are many who think that Cohen is the one who most s poetic value he has managed to give to the songs. In just two verses of ‘Anthem’ there is everything, the world, life: “There is a crack in everything, / that’s how the light enters inside”.