Tuesday, July 5, 2022

HALLELUJAH: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song | Official Trailer (2022)

A new documentary on one of Leonard's most popular tunes

‘More than a song’: the enduring power of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah In a new documentary, fans and experts explore the legacy of a song originally shunned before becoming a timeless classic ‘I can’t think of any other song with a trajectory of anything like what happened with Hallelujah’ … Leonard Cohen circa late-2000s ‘I can’t think of any other song with a trajectory of anything like what happened with Hallelujah’ … Leonard Cohen circa late 2000s. Photograph: Courtesy of the Cohen Estate Rob LeDonne @robledonne Wed 29 Jun 2022 07.19 BST Last modified on Wed 29 Jun 2022 22.17 BST “I can’t think of another song with a trajectory of anything like what happened with Hallelujah,” said the author Alan Light of Leonard Cohen’s ubiquitous magnum opus. “When you think of universal global anthems like Imagine or Bridge Over Troubled Water, they were immediate hits. But Hallelujah was first rejected by the record company, and then completely ignored when it came out.” Leonard Cohen circa 1960. Leonard Cohen: previously unpublished novel to be released in autumn Read more So goes the legend of Cohen’s hallmark track, which has captivated generations of listeners with a mystique and weight that set it apart. Perhaps that’s why the aforementioned Light wrote a book entirely about the track: 2012’s The Holy Or the Broken: Leonard Cohen, Jeff Buckley, and the Unlikely Ascent of Hallelujah. It’s that book which serves as the basis for the new documentary Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song, which premiered at the Tribeca film festival earlier this month. Directed and produced by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller, the film takes both a micro and macro view of the song and Cohen, along with their respective and deeply intertwined places in culture. “Leonard Cohen, in short, was a prophet,” said Goldfine, who, along with Geller, has assembled a stacked career directing expansive documentaries focusing on music including 2005’s Ballets Russes, about the early 20th-century Russian ballet company. “Leonard [was known for] timeless writing and timeless poetry that floats outside of any particular epoch,” Goldfine said. “It addressed the deepest of our human concerns about longing for connection and longing for some sort of hope, transcendence and acknowledgment of the difficulties of life.” While Hallelujah may sound like an old standard, or some ancient hymn passed down through the ages, it was actually written in 1983 using a measly electric Casio keyboard. “There isn’t another songwriter like Cohen,” says Light, of the language Cohen brought to his art. “His approach to language and craft feel unlike the work of anybody else. And they sound rooted in poetry and literature because he studied as a poet and a novelist first.” Cohen wrote ceaselessly, writing a reported 180 verses alone for Hallelujah during the writing process. Adding to its inherent drama are the original version’s deep vocals, with Cohen’s voice deepened after years of cigarette smoking. But it was Columbia Records, in a choice akin to Decca Records turning down the then fledgling Beatles for a record contract in 1962, who made the decision that Hallelujah and the album it came from, Various Positions, didn’t have the commercial cachet they were seeking. As the documentary chronicles, Cohen was crushed and it was eventually released by an independent label. “Leonard looked with a certain amazement and amusement that this song that had been cast off and spurned by his record label went on to become his signature song,” says Light of Cohen’s reaction to its later success. “He talked several times about feeling a sense of revenge or justice about how the song was later recognized and regarded.” Cohen’s version didn’t register on the Billboard charts until his death in 2016 at 82. Why Hallelujah reached the heights it did is due to a unique mix of inventive cover versions, cultural happenstance and a magic-in-a-bottle quality the song no doubt possesses. Search the track on Spotify today and it’s Jeff Buckley’s version, not Cohen’s, which is the top result; the pairing of the song’s seemingly haunting subject matter and Buckley’s raw 1994 recording, coupled with the singer-songwriter’s drowning death aged just 30, adds another layer of weight. Buckley’s version was inducted into the Library of Congress’s national registry in 2013. Then there’s John Cale’s popular take on the tune, the first artist to cover the track in 1991. But oddly enough, the song’s modern ubiquity can be traced to its prominent placement in Shrek, the second-highest grossing movie of 2001, which effectively launched Hallelujah into the upper echelons of popular culture. (The film features Cale’s version while the soundtrack includes Rufus Wainwright’s cover). Perhaps it’s fitting that an animated comedy would propel Cohen’s legend, considering that according to Geller the biggest misconception about Cohen himself is that he was originally considered the singer of gloom and doom. “Instead, we found a man who was so funny and so dry,” Geller explained. “Almost everything he said came out with a twinkle in his eye.” In recent years, Hallelujah has had dozens of placements in TV and movies (from Scrubs to Zack Snyder’s Justice League) and has been sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to Bono, Brandi Carlile to Il Divo. The comedian Kate McKinnon sang it in character as Hillary Clinton to open the first episode of Saturday Night Live following the 2016 election of Donald Trump. Meanwhile, last year Yolanda Adams performed her take on National Covid Remembrance Day at the Lincoln Memorial. That’s not to mention the plethora of singing competition contestants from The X Factor to American Idol who sang of majors and minors falling, for better or for worse. “It’s a Rorschach test,” says Light of the various interpretations of its lyrics, including the idea that it’s meant to be a Christian song. In reality, as the film chronicles, Cohen was Jewish. “The word Hallelujah appears across religions and faiths. Even though clearly Leonard’s own Judaism informs so much of what he put into the song, it’s one that people take what they need from it and what they want it to be. I think that’s why it’s played everywhere from weddings to funerals and births.” Adds Geller of Cohen’s musical output: “He has these lyrics and very beautiful musical arrangements that step out of time and can last and be relevant for audiences of all ages.” For the film-makers, it was footage of Cohen singing Hallelujah on stage during a performance in Oakland, California, that partly inspired them to concoct the documentary. “I just couldn’t stop thinking of it,” says Goldfine. “It is more than a song. [This is a] documentary about one’s own center, and one’s own role and place in life.” Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song is out in US cinemas on 1 July, Australian cinemas on 14 July, and in the UK later this year

Friday, July 1, 2022


Cheers from Les F on Canada's Westcoast.

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Losing the Verdun Legion (shouldn't be an option at all,especially after having lost the original building years ago)

We're at the end of the rope': Veterans fear losing Verdun legion due to high rent Touria Izri Touria Izri CTV News Montreal Videojournalist Contact Updated June 10, 2022 4:35 p.m. PDT Published June 8, 2022 4:15 p.m. PDT Share facebooktwitterreddit More share options The Verdun legion is the oldest branch in Canada, opening its doors after the First World War. But a century later, its members are in a different kind of fight for survival. With bills piling up and the lease coming to an end, members say they feel betrayed by the city. "Now, we're at the end of the rope. Our lease is up December 31, 2022," said Stan Kircoff, president of the Verdun Legion. In 2011, the branch sold its original building and moved into a different one down the street. But the money is running out and they can't keep up with their current rent, which is more than $5,000 per month. "It's frustrating. You never think this is going to happen," said Kircoff, who has been a member for five decades. He accused the city of turning its back on veterans. "I’m very sorry, but this is no way you treat veterans and their families and senior citizens. Not after 100 years. That’s no thank you at all." The legion is hoping the lawn bowling club building in Verdun, which has sat vacant for years, will be its new home. Members pleaded their case to the Verdun city council Tuesday night, but councillors wouldn't commit to handing over the keys. "Unfortunately, the city can't provide a building to one organization and not the others that are currently looking," said city councillor Sterling Downey. The pandemic has only created more financial challenges for legions across the city and country, which have struggled to stay open with rising rent and declining membership. "We had no revenue. As you know, our revenue comes from social events, suppers, other activties," said Kenneth Ouellet, the president of the Royal Canadian Legion Quebec Provincial Command. Meanwhile, the borough hopes the legion can come to a temporary agreement with the landlord and is offering to rent the branch space at the Marcel-Giroux community centre — but only by the hour. "The basement is filled with memorabilia. I guess we're going to have to have a sale at the end of the month. We won't be able to take it with us, we won't have room," said Kircoff. Without a place to call home, Kircoff fears the veterans will lose their sense of community.

Monday, May 16, 2022

More Montreal Memories (some shots from the past)

Have a look at some old pics from around Montreal, we or many of us have lived a long time since some of this was new to us. New roads highways and places that are now just old or gone altogether. Enjoy your trip back in time.
Have Fun Remember Verdun/Montreal Cheers ! Les