Saturday 29 September 2012

Vale Andy Williams

 

Andy Williams, the silky-voiced, clean-cut crooner whose signature song from the early 1960s, Moon River brought him fans the world over, died this week. He was 84.

A voice that was compared to warm chocolate sauce…

When Andy Williams sang Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer’s Moon River at the 1962 Oscars – it was the theme to the Audrey Hepburn film Breakfast at Tiffany’s and he considered it the greatest love song ever written – it quickly became his theme song. Williams followed up at the following year’s Oscars ceremony by winning another award with a second Mancini-Mercer classic, Days Of Wine And Roses.

In the early 1990s Williams openned his own theatre at Branson, Missouri: the 2000-seat Andy Williams Moon River Theatre, where he appeared up to a dozen times a week between September and December. In 1999 his recording of Music To Watch Girls By (1967) was a surprise hit in Britain when it climbed to No 9 in the charts after featuring in a Fiat Punto commercial. The single’s success was followed by a sell-out British tour. In 2002 he teamed up with the British actress Denise van Outen in a duet on Can’t Take My Eyes Off You, his solo hit from 1968, which 30 years later was revived to promote another car in Britain, the Peugeot 306. {Source SMH}

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Wednesday 2 May 2012

Burt Bacharach ♥

 

I have a confession to make ~ I’m a Burt Bacharach fan!

That’s what friends are for…..

 

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Friday 6 January 2012

folk music ♥

 

The joy of festivals is experiencing musicians you love playing music live and discovering artists you’ve never heard off.

My Woodford Folk Festival highlights were Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gotye, Skipping Girl Vinegar and Katie Nunnan.

Buffy Sainte-Marie, Woodford Folk Festival 2011/12

Buffy Sainte-Marie plays Woodford Folk Festival

Buffy Sainte-Marie :: legendary!

Academy Award winner and folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie’s audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. Buffy was accompanied by a rocking 3-piece all-Aboriginal band from Indian Reserves in Manitoba, Canada. WFF

Inspirationally performing at 70, Buffy passionately uses her powerful voice to perform an astonishing fusion of hard rock, protest folk, country and pop songs. This Canadian Cree performer is an extraordinary concert artist, singer-songwriter, composer, pacifist, and social activist. Her singing and writing repertoire includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.

Her haunting music, joyful spirit, and thought-provoking song writing has produced a rich catalogue of music including the Academy Award winning“Up Where We Belong” as well as her searing, political era-defining anthem “Universal Soldier” – a song that remains arguably the finest anti-war song ever. More of her most popular songs include “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and the much-loved classic “Until It’s Time for You to Go”.  To read more, go here.

Gotye :: amazing songwriting + percussion + sound! 

Gotye took to the stage to enchant the thousands of punters gathered at the Amphitheatre at Woodford Folk Festival last night.  From the moment Wally De Backer took to the stage, the crowd hung on to his every word. Opening track Eyes Wide Open instantly had the crowd dancing and as they erupted into cheers of admiration as he greeted those gathered with “you’re looking very big.”

Like a little kid at Christmas, his smile was infectious and it was evident throughout his entire set that there was nowhere else he would rather be. The crowd was in rapture by De Backer’s energised drum solo at the end of The Only Way. As De Backer worked through tracks from his latest album, Making Mirrors, each track was accompanied by quirky animations projected on a the three screens, behind and on each side of the stage. A half-man, half-bear clip accompanied Smoke and Mirrors, while an organ taking over a family complemented State of the Art, which he explained was about “recreational music culture.”

He dipped into the back catalogue with Thanks for Your Time, before playing the ’60s song Seville which De Backer sampled for his acclaimed Somebody That I Used to Know. As the intro into Somebody That I Used to Know began he appealed to the audience, “You’re going to have to help us out because she (Kimbra) can’t be here tonight.”

After a collective sigh of disappointment, it was a magical moment as thousands of voices sang in unison Kimbra’s part of the hottest song of the year.

Gladstone Observer

 Katie Noonan and the Captains :: Elixir back at last! {I’m a George fan!}

With Katie Noonan’s trio of 14 years Elixir about to release their long awaited second album First Seed Ripening, and in the wake of their recent national tour supporting the American jazz legend Ron Carter, the group performed fantastically at Woodford. via here

Skipping Girl Vinegar :: I really enjoyed this Melbourne independent alt-acoustic pop four-piece band. Taking their name from the iconic Melbourne neon sign of Audrey the ‘Skipping Girl’ in Richmond, the band features Chris Helm, Mark Lang, Amanthi Lynch and Sare Lang.

Skipping Girl Vinegar debut single ‘One Chance’

{Images: 1 & 2 Buffy by max_wedge; 3&4 Woodford Folk Festival 5&6 google images}

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Saturday 10 September 2011

It’s cute – it’s weird – it’s PonPonPon!

 

This is Candy Land Harajuku style! Enjoy this crazy, colourful and quirky debut single, PONPONPON by Kyary Pamyu Pamyu ~ a Japanese fashion designer, blogger, model, and a high school student. This is so OTT that it’s great!

The rainbow-colored, toy-filled visual spectacle includes a kaleidoscope of faceless, cross-dressing plus-size dancers,  floating toast with 3-D eyeballs and Kyary’s head turning to pink Picasso slime. There’s a lot of Tokyo’s famous “kawaii” fashion going on ~ the hair bows, the pink Dr. Martens with ruffle socks and the eyeball-print bloomers.

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu is Japan’s summer pop sensation and PONPONPON has gained international popularity due to the music video’s craziness, weirdness, and it’s cuteness. The super-kawaii bedroom set was designed by Harajuku’s own Sebastian Masuda of 6%DOKIDOKI.

On July 25, 2011, Warner Music Japan released the song’s music video.

“PONPONPON” was written and composed by Yasutaka Nakata, who is sort of like the The-Dream of J-Pop, an auteur whose work guiding female vocalists like PerfumeCapsule and Meg always follows an instantly-identifiable, common perfect thread. In their world, Nakata and his artists make music sublime, a happy marriage of early-2000s French electro and soprano Auto-Tune.  The Fader

Who is Kyary Pamyu Pamyu? {excerpt wikipedia via know your meme}

Takemura Kiriko, better known by her stage name Kyary Pamyu Pamyu, was born on January 29, 1993 and resides in the Harajuku district of Tokyo. She  began her career as a model for Harajuku fashion magazines such as Kera! and Zipper. After achieving a measure of fame, she began to establish herself as a businesswoman by launching a line of fake eyelashes called “Harajuku Doll Eyelashes by Eyemazing x Kyary” and appearing at fashion shows. In April 2011, she frontlined the charity event “One Snap For Love” with legendary Japanese fashion editor and photographer Yasumasa Yonehara and Japanese brand 6%DOKIDOKI for victims of the 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

In July 2011 she began a music career by releasing her first single, “PONPONPON”. The music video, a psychedelic tribute to Kawaisa and Decora culture, was released to Youtube and became a viral hit. The single was produced by Yasutaka Nakata and is the first release from Kyary’s debut mini-album, Moshi Moshi Harajuku. “PONPONPON” quickly rose to the top of the iTunes charts in both Finland and Belgium.

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Sunday 24 July 2011

RIP songstress Amy Winehouse

 

Her contralto voice and beehive hairdo made her a sultry 21st-century British neo-jazz diva

and she had no fear of displaying the seamier side of her life.

She has joined the 27 Club, the name given to a group of musicians who have died at the young age of 27,

and includes Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Kurt Cobain.

Amy Winehouse, she of the sailor tattoos

~ her distinctive style made her a muse for fashion designers.

Karl Lagerfeld once called her his muse, Roberto Cavalli went crazy for her, and Louis Vuitton reported paid her $1m for a single appearance at a show during 2008 Paris Fashion Week. Jonathan Kelsey designed his ‘Amy’ shoe, and PPQ teamed up with her on a capsule collection.

The new Brigitte Bardot :: Karl Lagerfeld paid direct homage to her at the 2007 London Chanel show. Models strutted down the runway wearing impressively vertiginous up-dos and heavily kohl-rimmed eyes. When asked about his muse, the designer announced that Winehouse is ”the new Brigitte Bardot”: gap-toothed, boundary breaking and most importantly beehived. The Sun newspaper 

She is a beautiful, gifted artist.

And I very much like her hairdo. I took it as an inspiration.

Because, in fact, it was also Brigitte Bardot’s hairdo in the late Fifties and Sixties.

And now Amy has made it her own style.

Karl Lagerfeld

The Beehive which Amy apparently patented and spread to the masses gets a perfect pouf in these new ads for the house that Coco built. The other inspiration is purely Tudors, as if King Henry numbero ocho came up from hell to whisper sweet nothings into Karly’s ear.

Tears Dry On Their Own

Amy Jade Winehouse (born 14 September 1983 in London) is an English singer-songwriter, known for her eclectic mix of various musical genres including soul, jazz, rock ‘n’ roll and rhythm and blues.

Her musical formation went through listening to such jazz divas as Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan; she was later influenced by contemporary metropolitan popular music as well. She represents a union of these aesthetics and of her writing (she composes her music herself): a happy compromise and fusion of ’40s jazz, ’60s soul and hard texts inspired by daily life.

Winehouse’s 2003 debut album Frank was a commercial and critical success. Her 2006 follow-up album Back To Black led to six Grammy Award nominations and five wins, tying the record for one of the most wins by a female artist in a single night, and made Winehouse the first singer from the United Kingdom to win five Grammys. She has won the Ivor Novello Award three times, one in 2004 for Best Contemporary Song (musically and lyrically) for “Stronger Than Me”, one in 2007 for Best Contemporary Song for “Rehab”, and one in 2008 for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for “Love Is A Losing Game”. {Wikipedia}

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Tuesday 14 June 2011

Octopussy ~ All Time High

 

Rita Coolidge sang the theme song to Octopussy. Enjoy!

All I wanted was a sweet distraction for an hour or two.
Had no intention to do the things we’ve done.
Funny how it always goes with love, when you don’t look, you find.
But then we’re two of a kind, we move as one.

We’re an all time high,
We’ll change all that’s gone before.
Doing so much more than falling in love.
On an all time high,
We’ll take on the world and wait.
So hold on tight, let the flight begin.

I don’t want to waste a waking moment; I don’t want to sleep.
I’m in so strong and so deep, and so are you.
In my time I’ve said these words before, but now I realize
My heart was telling me lies, for you they’re true.

We’re an all time high,
We’ll change all that’s gone before.
Doing so much more than falling in love.
On an all time high,
We’ll take on the world and wait.
So hold on tight, let the flight begin.

So hold on tight, let the flight begin.
We’re an all time high.

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Tuesday 8 February 2011

Life is a Carousel

 

Take an enchanting turn on a Carousel.

and don’t be too afraid and shy to say I love you.

Carousel by Rogers & Hammerstein

captures the emotions of love and hope within

A White Carousel.

I do not like musicals, and Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel is the exception. Considered by most critics and admirers to be their darkest musical, Carousel is a blend of beautiful and memorable music, a story of love unspoken, feelings unexpressed, disappointment, joy and death.

Longing to tell you, but afraid and shy

I let my golden chances pass me by.

Now, I’ve lost you

Soon I will go in the mist of day

And you never will know

How I loved you

How I loved you.

Carousel is a haunting love story and also a cautionary tale. Don’t be afraid to tell people you love them and believe in yourself. One of life’s heartaches is when two people wait too long to declare their love and be together.

The 1956 Carousel stars Gordon MacRae and Shirley Jones, and was directed by Henry King. Be moved by How I loved you. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuHAh-2xGxw&feature=related

The Carousel Waltz is beautiful and sets the haunting tone. The songs If I Loved You, and You’ll Never Walk Alone are my favourites.

When you walk through a storm
Hold your head up high
And don’t be afraid of the dark
At the end of the storm
There’s a golden sky
And the sweet silver song of the lark
Walk on, through the wind
Walk on, through the rain
Though your dreams be tossed and blown
Walk on, walk on, with hope in your heart
And you’ll never walk alone
You’ll never walk alone

I’m not sure whether the Elvis Presley’s version or the Three Tenors version of You’ll never walk alone is the best!

The Three Tenors – You’ll Never Walk Alone

Elvis – You’ll Never Walk Alone



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Wednesday 5 January 2011

Blessings Of The Earth

 

more drumming ~ experience the nergy of the taiko drumming ensemble, TaikOz.

To beat with every muscle, bone and sinew in our bodies,

with an open and joyous spirit.

‘Blessings Of The Earth’ features the full range of TaikOz’s dynamic taiko drums, including the 250kg odaiko Grand Drum and a Solo from Kaidan: A Ghost Story, choreographed by the internationally acclaimed Meryl Tankard.

More than the beating of drums: it incorporates a complete world of drumming, song and dance that on the one hand harks back to ancient Buddhist and Shinto rituals and on the other, is a reflection of contemporary musical life, irrespective of nationality. The performance features beautiful melodies for the bamboo flutes, as well as traditional and contemporary songs.

TalkOz is Australia’s internationally acclaimed taiko drumming ensemble.

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Wednesday 5 January 2011

drummers drumming

 

on the twelfth day of Christmas,

the High Energy Drums of Japan

Traditional Japanese Music – Kodo Ibuki Taiko Drums

Yamato – The Drums of Japan: The ancient Japanese art of Taiko drumming is being rejuvenated by a group of men and women who combine music and dance from the ancestral Japanese beliefs about the power of the drum.

Taiko drumming has been part of Japanese culture for hundreds of years, with its roots originating during religious festivals and ceremonies at temples and shrines. During feudal times in Japan, taiko drums were often used to set cadence on marches, motivate troops, or to announce orders, similar to a drum and bugle corps.

The eleven piece group blend drums, theater and musical arts into a performance of tightly synchronized percussion mixed with explosive solos.  Using the koto (the 13-string Japanese zither) and three-string shamisen (a Japanese lute) along with cymbals, gongs, flutes, and a series of drums ranging from six inches to six feet across. Yamato was founded in 1993 in Nara, Japan, known as the birthplace of Japanese culture. The term Yamato is the original name of Japan.

{Images Kodo Ibuki Taiko Drums via The DC Traveler}

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Tuesday 9 November 2010

God in a black suit ~ Leonard Cohen

 

His voice is the equivalent of an aged bottle of red…rich, mellow and smooth.

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.

Seventy-six years old. Two thousand recorded renditions of his songs.

Hundreds of days spent living in the mountains at a Zen Buddhist monastery.

Canadian poet, novelist, singer-songwriter, Buddhist monk, Jewish and revered septuagenarian.

Leonard Cohen skips out and enthralls an awaiting audience of 10,000 in Brisbane, Australia.

To experience Leonard Cohen live in concert is extraordinary.

The Unified Heart concert on Saturday night was raw and tender,

with Cohen’s poetic mastery fusing perfectly with six incredible musicians and three vocalists.

Hallelujah!

Cohen was modest and humble, whose respect for his band, singers and stage crew was moving,

and reciprocated by the muscians and the audience.

He’s the consummate showman with a style that is deeply sincere and generous.

The loyal band made their way onto the stage:

guitarist Bob Metzger, bassist and musical director Roscoe Beck, drummer Rafael Gayol,

saxophonist and wind instruments Dino Soldo, keyboard pianist Neil Larsen, and

Spaniard Javier Mas on acoustic guitar and bandurria,

with vocals by  the effervescent backup singers ~ the celestial harmonies of sisters Charley and Hattie Webb, and the vocal interplay of sultry-voiced Sharon Robinson, co-composer of “Everybody Knows” and other Cohen odes, were integral to the mix. Loenard Cohen’s musical backing was superb.

Then skipping playfully onto the stage, out bounded Mr Cohen donning his trademark fedora and dark suit. From here, they sprung into numerous classic Cohen tracks starting with “Dance Me, Until the End of Love.” as well as “Chelsea Hotel Number 2”  “Everybody Knows” “Ain’t No Cure For Love,” “Bird on a Wire”

and on it went.

In the second set “Tower Of Song” “Suzanne”  ”Sisters of Mercy” “Hallelujah” “I’m Your Man” the recited “1000 Kisses Deep” with “So Long Marianne” and “First We Take Manhattan” in the encores.

We listened in rapt silence, we sang, we laughed, we applauded, we were captivated.

Cohen often fell down on to his knees to try and push out every note in an impassioned mesh with the music.

The eloquent Cohen introduced his band

with more grace than witnessed in a knighting or a papal ceremony.

“Here he is a priest, a prince, a poet, a sculptor of time

our  timekeeper on drums, Rafael Gayol…

Mandolin maestro Javier Mas, the Spanish virtuoso of string instruments”

“The musician’s musician, the impeccable Neil Larsen on the hammond organ and keyboards”

“My collaborator, Sharon Robinson,  from California, with a sultry voice and my songwriting partner since the 70’s on “Everybody Knows” “Summertime” “Waiting for the Miracle”….

“The sublime acrobatic Webb sisters, ‘the angels’” who played the harp & performed cartwheels across the stage.

The band members were heaped with adulation,

and each acknowledged with a long deep reverential bow of respect by Cohen.

Cohen gave the band members room to showcase themselves, one by one, while he removed his hat and faded briefly into the shadows. A ten-minute solo by 12-string guitarist Javier Mas, left everyone in awe as did the virtoso of wind and sax, Dino Soldo.

Cohen and his band returned for three encores for a show lasting more than 3 hours long,

with the star skipping on and off the stage each time.

Very few musicians have stockpiled three hours of material as profound, eloquent and enigmatic as Cohen.

Encores, standing ovations and much love flowing in both directions.

Cohen tried to say goodbye but we didn’t want to let him go…

I tried to leave you, I don’t deny
I closed the book on us, at least a hundred times……

Goodnight, my darling, I hope you’re satisfied

Finally we said goodbye with a standing ovation.

“Thank you friends for keeping my songs alive for so many years.”

In a world that obsesses over the trivial and praises the mediocre, this was something different: true greatness, depth, emotion. And all offered up with the grace and humility so frequently absent from our daily toils. Noel Mengel, The Courier Mail, Hallelujah, another divine show from Leonard Cohen.

I hear you calling

I feel so blue

I think I’m falling,

I’m falling for you

People describe his live performances

as a spiritual, life-enriching spectacle,

a place where he plays all his great songs in gusto.

Without a doubt, Leonard Cohen is one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.

A true legend.

Childhood  ~  Leonard Cohen was born to his Jewish parents in Montreal, Quebec on 21 September 1934.  His father owned a clothing store, though he died when Leonard was just nine years old.  Cohen learned to play the guitar as a teenager and formed a folk-country group named the Buckskin Boys. When his father died, he was left with enough money in a trust fund to allow him to pursue his interests in the arts.

A Life in the Arts  ~  As a poet, Leonard Cohen was influenced by the likes of Walt Whitman, Federico Garcia Lorca and Henry Miller. Cohen’s own poetry was published for the first time in the volume entitled Let Us Compare Mythologies, whilst he was still a student. His 1961 collection The Spice-Box of Earth raised his profile in literary circles. He went on to publish more poetry, as well as works of fiction (such as the Favourite Game) whilst living on the Greek island, Hydra.

Leonard Cohen moved to the United States in 1967 to develop his career as a folk musician. He became involved in Andy Warhol’s New York art scene, mingling with notorious figures such as Nico and the Velvet Underground. Cohen’s song ‘Suzanne’ became a hit for the folk singer Judy Collins and his own performances became a focus of attention for Columbia Records. Leonard Cohen’s debut album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, released in 1969, became a cult hit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal life  ~  In the 1960s, during his stay at Hydra, Cohen befriended the Scandinavian novelists Axel Jensen and Göran Tunström. He lived there with Axel’s wife Marianne Jensen (now: Ihlen Stang) and their son Axel after they broke up. The song “So Long, Marianne is about her.

Cohen has been married once, toLos Angeles artist Suzanne Elrod in the 1970s.He has downplayed the marriage as an important relationship, and has said that “cowardice” and “fear” have prevented him from ever actually marrying.He had two children with Elrod: a son, Adam, born in 1972 and a daughter, Lorca, named after poet Federico García Lorca, born in 1974. Cohen and Elrod had split by 1979. “Suzanne“, one of his best-known songs, refers to Suzanne Verdal, the former wife of his friend, the Québécois sculptor Armand Vaillancourt, rather than Elrod.

The Poet

This hand held video filmed in Amsterdam from the 3rd row, captures some of the poetry of a Cohen concert.

Why Leonard Cohen Returned to the Road  ~ In October 2005, Cohen alleged that his longtime former manager, Kelley Lynch, misappropriated over US $5 million from Cohen’s retirement fund leaving him practically broke with only $150,000. “I had to go to work. I had no money left,” the singer said in 2005.

Partly due to this catalyst, Cohen was forced back out on to the road, to tour the world and try to reassemble his ailing bank account. But, it was not purely for the money he returned to such a rigorous touring schedule. It seemed almost fateful, fans would be allowed another chance to glimpse the singer, after he announced in the film “I’m Your Man” (a 2005 documentary of a tribute concert dedicated to him in Sydney), that he would probably return to the road to rejuvenate his songs, and give them a new life.

In 2005 director Lian Lunson traveled to Sydney to film the historic “Came So Far For Beauty” show, a tribute to Leonard Cohen at the Sydney Opera House organized by famed music producer Hal Willner. Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man includes behind-the-scenes interviews and live performances from this event by Nick Cave, Rufus Wainwright, Kate & Anna McGarrigle, Martha Wainwright, Beth Orton, Linda Thompson, Teddy Tompson, Jarvis Cocker, The Handsome Family, Julie Christensen and Perla Battala, as well as a special performance of “Tower of Song” by Cohen and U2. In a series of candid interviews, Cohen himself reveals his trademark wry humor and soulful intensity, using his own artwork, poetry and personal collection of photographs to reflect upon his colorful past and his creative process.

The Buddhist

Cohen, these days, has the mien of a profoundly centered man. Part of that comes no doubt from his studies of Buddhism, which date back to the 1970s, and the period of time in the 1990s that he was ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk so he might serve in an austere setting as the personal attendant to his teacher, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki Roshi.

“The first and most discernible lesson is to stop whining,” Cohen explained. “And I don’t really need to go much beyond that. It was sort of like boot camp. It’s a rigorous life, it’s cold and it’s above the snow line. Four-thousand feet was the snow line, and we were up around 7,500 feet. A lot of it is involved in surviving the winter. There’s a lot of shoveling of snow. There is very little private space.

There’s a saying in Zen:

‘Like pebbles in bag, the monks polish one another.’

Those rough edges get smoothed out.”

Cohen never went to Buddhism seeking enlightenment, it was more about survival, he said. He came in as a patient, not a pilgrim. “I needed something. Things weren’t working in my life. I had drugs and promiscuity, many things. I wasn’t happy. I needed a new way. But it wasn’t about anything holy.”

And what about the financial calamity? A court judgment has awarded him more than $9 million —

the touring is not a desperate lunge to pay his bills, and

when he holds out his hat on stage there’s a smile on his face.

And so it was, skipping off the stage like a nymph, Leonard Cohen disappeared off stage. As we exited, we had all shared something special. A worldly piece of poetry, history and grace, decked out in a dapper suit and a hat.

The band was
Leonard Cohen – vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboard.
Roscoe Beck – bass, double bass, background vocals
Neil Larsen – keyboards, Hammond B3, accordion
Bob Metzger – guitar, steel guitar, background vocals
Javier Mas – bandurria, laud, archilaud
Rafael Bernardo Gayol – drums, percussion
Dino Soldo – keyboard, saxophone, wind instruments, dobro, background vocals
Sharon Robinson – vocals, shaker
Hattie Webb – vocals, harp
Charley Webb – vocals, guitar

{Sources and Images via  Julia Nicolle, Jelena Topcic, leonard cohen photosleonard cohen files,wikipedia, 1heckofaguy}

To follow Leonard Cohen on tour visit his blog.

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