In the concert film I’m Your Man, folksinger Leonard Cohen describes his childhood reading of the Torah as the earliest, and one of the strongest, influences on his poems and lyrics. And so it’s a wonder that it took so long for sometime to create a Jewish tribute concert to Cohen’s music. “He has used specifically Jewish liturgical and biblical references in many of his songs — ‘Hallelujah’, ‘Story of Isaac,’ ‘Who by Fire,’ ‘If It Be Your Will’ — and we’ll be covering a lot of those,” says Hal Aqua, organizer of Swallow Hill’s Jews Do Cohen, and a member of the Lost Tribe, one of the groups that will be covering the Jewish-Canadian singer’s classic songs.
“Most of Cohen’s material deals with themes of spirituality, love, despair, social justice and redemption, things that can be approached from a Jewish perspective, and that’s what led many of us to our song choices,” he adds. “By and large, Jewish music inhabits its own world. Jews Do Cohen is an attempt to cross that gap — both to view Leonard Cohen’s work in the context of his Jewish background, and to get Jewish musicians to stretch into the larger themes that his songs open us to.”
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Jews Do Cohen will sound off at 8 p.m tonight in Daniels Hall, 71 East Yale Avenue. Tickets are $16 in advance, $18 the day of the show; for more information, visit www.swallowhillmusic.org.
Sat., Jan. 26, 8 p.m., 2013