Sunday, December 25, 2016

Leonard Cohen: Anthem (2009)



Leonard Cohen and his band perform “Anthem” at Ramat Gan Stadium in Ramat Gan, Israel, on September 24, 2009. The concert’s setlist (28 songs, including three encores) is listed [here]. The full concert is available [here]; and this song in relation to the concert begins with an introduction [here]. In terms of record-keeping, the song is the fifth track on Cohen’s ninth studio album, The Future, which Columbia Records released on November 24, 1992.

Like many of his later songs, this one takes on the form of a prayer, which is understandable given that for this song Cohen drew on the writing of Rabbi Isaac Luria [1534–1572; known as ARIZaL and Ha’ARI Hakadosh], the father of contemporary Kabbalah (“received tradition“), or medieval Jewish mysticism. Cohen himself was both a poet and a seeker & revealer of truth, which makes him a mystic, or at the very least a mystic of music.

Band Members/Musicians
Roscoe Beck: bass, backing vocals, musical director
Sharon Robinson: vocals
Rafael Bernardo Gayol: drums, percussion
Neil Larsen: keyboards, accordion
Javier Mas: laúd, bandurria, guitar
Bob Metzger: guitar, pedal steel guitar, backing vocals
Dino Soldo: saxophone, clarinet, harmonica, keyboard, backing vocals
Charley Webb: backing vocals, guitar
Hattie Webb: backing vocals, harp

******************
Anthem
by Leonard Cohen

The birds they sang
at the break of day
Start again
I heard them say
Don’t dwell on what
has passed away
or what is yet to be.

Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again
bought and sold
and bought again
the dove is never free.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.

We asked for signs
the signs were sent:
the birth betrayed
the marriage spent
Yeah the widowhood
of every government --
signs for all to see.

I can’t run no more
with that lawless crowd
while the killers in high places
say their prayers out loud.
But they’ve summoned, they’ve summoned up
a thundercloud
and they’re going to hear from me.

Ring the bells that still can ring ...

You can add up the parts
but you won't have the sum
You can strike up the march,
there is no drum
Every heart, every heart
to love will come
but like a refugee.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.

Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.
That's how the light gets in.

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