Leonard Cohen musically marked touchstones in my life. His name was invisible to the songs. His way of marking time, dropping lyrics onto a page, stretching chord inversions to their full potential, pulling generations into his stories that wove a chain of music between them.

“And Jesus was a sailor when he walked upon the water
And he spent a long time watching from his lonely wooden tower
And when he knew for certain only drowning men could see him
He said all men will be sailors then until the sea shall free them.”

I paid little attention to the name of the man who touched those special marking chords within me. Then again, that is just the way I look at music. A performer may call my attention to a song, but it is the composition that enthralls me. Even stranger to me now is that I didn’t register the person who wrote such songs.

“I’m not looking for another as I wander in my time
Walk me to the corner, our steps will always rhyme
You know my love goes with you as your love stays with me
It’s just the way it changes like the shoreline and the sea”

Folk-songs were one of those transition mediums in the 60-70’s era. It is where I felt most comfortable as a performer. After all – folk-songs told stories. As a performer,”Suzanne”, “That’s No Way to Say Goodbye’ rolled easily into my voice so I could tell a new story. Endless long nights debating the metaphors and symbolism of the lyrics only enhanced the joy of performing them.

“Well I’ve heard there was a secret chord
That David played and it pleased the Lord
But you don’t really care for music, do you?”

But I think Cohen’s special knack of weaving his spiritual search with his life experiences are what really pulled all of us to his music time-after-time. His Jewish up-bringing. His exploration of Christianity. His advent into Zen-Buddhism. The mixture sang of our own journeys in this life of wars and turmoil.

“The fourth, the fifth, the minor fall and the major lift
The baffled king composing Hallelujah”.

I will miss the blessings Leonard Cohen brought to this world through his stories in music. Blessings!Be! and I hope the music of the King of Music breathed in his ears as he crossed his own sea to freedom.


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