Stewart D'Arrietta Remembers The Legend Leonard Cohen

Published in Arts  
Stewart D'Arrietta Stewart D'Arrietta

Stewart D'Arrietta will pay tribute to Leonard Cohen, joined by his band of musicians.


'My Leonard Cohen' presents arresting interpretations of Leonard's most iconic music and poetry, as well as stories of his life and the motivations behind the songs.

All of this will be brought to life thought Stewart's masterful arrangements. Here, Stewart tells us some more about the show.

This show is essentially a celebration of Leonard Cohen. Why did you decide you wanted to do a show like this?
In 2013, I was searching for a new project and I had always loved the seductiveness of Cohen’s work. I investigated his songs or should I say, his poetry, I was struck with awe at his incredible imagery. I also found that there was an opportunity for me to weave my own type of magic into the arrangements of the songs.

And once the run of shows is over, what do you hope to have achieved/accomplished? What's your main aim in presenting 'My Leonard Cohen’?
I suppose to get my name about and to be able to do a show of my own songs at some time in the future.

You've brought your own spin to various artists over the years. Who so far (other than Leonard) has been your favourite artist to cover?
That’s a hard question to answer as I have loved all the music of the artists I have endeavoured to showcase. Other than John Lennon, with the 'Lennon Through A Glass Onion' show, that John Waters and I have been doing for 27 years, I would have to say Tom Waits as he is the voice of the underbelly of society and his grooves span a wide texture of feels. His lyrics are also colourful and moving.

What do you think made Leonard Cohen such a musical force?
I think it has been his lyrics more so than anything else. Although his songwriting musically warrants great accolades. He went broke in early 2000 with his manager stealing all his money which forced him on the road again. Had he not done that, I don’t think he would be as popular as he is today. His music seems to touch the heart of his generation and mine and he is the polar opposite of the classic star, as his journey for enlightenment in the spiritual world, made him into a gentle, unassuming and humble man.


Do you have a favourite LC song? Which is it and why?
‘A Thousand Kisses Deep’, a song about an old man searching for love with all the inadequates of being old and yearning for a young woman, well that’s my take on it.

Do you love any other artists, living or passed, that you'd like to cover in a big show like this in the future?
I do love Randy Newman that I did a show once on but have never resurrected it, as he is incredibly unknown which is a sad event. His sardonic take on life is singular.

How are you hoping audiences at your show leave thinking and feeling?
I hope they have a great night out and come out of the theatre somewhat moved. Also I put a lot of groove into his songs, dispelling the theory that his songs are ‘slash your wrists’ music. There are two songs in the show that move people considerably. One is ‘Dance Me To The End Of Love’, a song he wrote after learning that Jewish string quartets were used to serenade fellow Jewish inmates of the concentration camps into the gas chambers and of course ‘Hallelujah’ which is a masterpiece, having taken him five years to write.

'My Leonard Cohen' plays Riverside Theatres (Sydney) on 5 May, Geelong Performing Arts Centre (Victoria) 10 May, Karralyka Centre (Victoria) 11 May, and Memo Music Hall (Victoria) 13-14 September.

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