Leonard Cohen, one of the greatest musicians and poets of our times, has passed away last monday at the age of 82. The news of his death was published tonight (Friday) on Cohen's facebook page, where the musicians record label announced "It is with profound sorrow we report that legendary poet, songwriter and artist, Leonard Cohen has passed away. We have lost one of music’s most revered and prolific visionaries." The legendary artist, who is considered one of the most influencial and central cultural leaders from the 60's until out days, released 14 studio albums along his career. The last of which, "You Want it Darker", came out less than a month ago, on October 20th 2016, and was described in many places as a dark farewell album where Cohen flirts with his own death.
Cohen, a Canadian born Jew, was in touch with his Jewish Identity, as a person and as a creator, and on October 1973, when he heard about the battles raging in Israel – he didn't hesitate, and quickly flew to Israel to help the war effort and sing to the troops. Among those shows – he also performed in bomb shelters across the country. that's how he ended up in Ken Kiryat Shmona.
Shimon Asur writes in "Zman Mevaseret" a local newspaper:
"In my memory a surreal picture is still painted from that horrible war, the Yom Kippur war in October 1973. So that our spirits, the kids of '73 is not corrupted, there were those who cared for enriching our cultural lives, the kids who stayed in bomb shelters in Kiryat Shmona.
But the most important concert for me was Leonard Cohen's Show. It was pretty crazy. Since I didn't like the long waiting in the bomb shelter, I was called through a bullhorn by my Madrich in NOAL to an Oshik Levy concert in another bomb shelter. That's how they lured us – since Oshik Levy was the celebrity back then. In the underground shelter, on metal bunk beds, that could easily fit on a movie set about WW2, we gathered, 2 elderly people that didn't leave that shelter for the whole war, and us, 3 rowdy teenage boys.
While we waited for Oshik Levy, we were disappointed when an American Jew wearing IDF cargo pants and a t-shirt entered. The man sat on a wooden vegetable crate, pulled out a guitar from it's case and started singing Suzanne, Bird on the Wire, and Who by Fire too, which it later turned out he wrote during the war, and we may have well been the first audience he played the song for. Gentlemen, you can certainly envy me, I got to see an almost personal show that Leonard Cohen sang for us, 3 kids from Kiryat Shmona, playing almost his entire repertoire. For me, that was the closest I've ever gotten to legendary artists. I should tell you the truth, we weren't really excited to see him, we barely knew who he was, the person who got our attention and stern demands for autographs was actually the singer Oshik Levy, that was assigned to the entertainment crew that moved between the bombed cities and the front lines. Leonard Cohen my dear, since then I have grown up and on my shelf are no less than 22 Albums of yours, that I have purchased with my own money. and if it comforts you, when I'm not listening to news on the radio, I am listening to you most of the time"
If you want to listen to the songs mentioned above: