2006-09-11

Leonard Cohen inspires

On being known as a poet and a singer, Leonard Cohen says, "I had the title poet, and maybe I was one for a while. Also, the title singer was kindly accorded me, even though I could barely carry a tune."

Given his old age and the fact that he "could barely carry a tune", the majority of the songs in his last 2 albums ("Ten New Songs" and "Dear Heather") were sung by his long-term working partners Sharon Robinson and Anjani Thomas.

Anjani began her collaboration with Cohen by singing background vocals in the mid-80s on the song Hallelujah. In "Dear Heather", Anjani produced 2 of the songs and sang 8 of the 13 tracks.

Now, Anjani has released her own album "Blue Alert" in May, with all songs written and arranged by Anjani and Cohen, and produced by Cohen himself.* According to Anjani, "I never knew we were making a record, I just thought I'd make a demo for Leonard to put his vocals on." It began with some handwritten lines [there's perfume burning in the air/bits of beauty everywhere] which Anjani happened to notice on Cohen's desk. This was the first draft of "Blue Alert," which Cohen intended to record himself. Anjani asked, "Can I have a crack at this?" He replied, "You can have it for a minute or two, and then you have to return it." ...

Remarkably, Madeleine Peyroux's latest album, to be released tomorrow, is called "Half the Perfect World", and features "Half the Perfect World" and "Blue Alert" from Anjani's "Blue Alert" Album.

Peyroux, who has a Billy Holliday voice, also recorded "Crazy To Love You", another track from Anjani's album, for Japan release only.

* Nightingale also appeared in the "Dear Heather" album. The solo version in "Blue Alert" is far superior, in my opinion.

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Listen to four songs from "Blue Alert" in Anjani's Myspace Music site.

Watch "The Making of Blue Alert" and the song "Thanks for the Dance" (hi- and lo-res videos to choose from).

Watch the song "Innermost Door" (lo-res, Youtube video).

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