Coverville – Birds of a Feather

Coverville!, the long-running awarding-winning podcast and radio program today presents its “Episode 883: On a dark desert highway, indie hodgepodge in my hair“.

Coverville’s Host and Producer Brian Ibbott kindly includes “the amazing, amazing, voice of Allison Crowe” – performing Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire“, in this collection that also features covers of Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Badfinger, the Allman Brothers, Sara Bareilles, John Prine, Rolling Stones and an instrumental of George Gershwin’s “Summertime“.

Over the years, this pioneering ‘cast has enlisted Allison’s recordings for cover stories on the Eurythmics, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Counting Crows, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, and fittingly – her first-ever appearance on Coverville was in Episode 202 – when she and Peter Gabriel, Madeleine Peyroux, Laura Burhenn, The Pixies, Maxx Klaxon, kd lang, and Jennifer Warnes were heard in “The Leonard Cohen Cover Story“.

Allison Crowe – first-ever guitar performance in concert – Bewley’s Café Theatre, Dublin, Ireland – Billie Woods foto

Episode 370, airing October 9, 2007, John Lennon’s birthday – is devoted to on-air chat with Allison Crowe, and spinning her covers of Counting Crows, Hunters and Collectors, Cyndi Lauper, and Joni Mitchell.

You can play, and download, all 883 Episodes of Coverville, and become a Citizen, online – and hear Coverville on KYCY 1550 AM in San Francisco every day at 2 pm. And, if you’re going that route, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair.

It’s a show you can check out any time you like – but you can never leave unhappy :)

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Bird on a Wire – encore

Alighting in time for July 1 Canada Day and July 4 Independence Day celebrations is the newest recording from Allison Crowe – a cover of “Bird on the Wire“.

This Leonard Cohen classic has been covered by Jennifer Warnes (on 1987’s “Famous Blue Raincoat” collection AKA “Jenny Sings Lenny”), as well as by Johnny Cash, Judy Collins, Joe Cocker, Bob Benvenuti, Katey Sagal (for the US tv program “Sons of Anarchy”), Tim Hardin, The Neville Brothers… in total, more than 140 recording artists since its release on Cohen’s 1969 album “Songs from a Room”.

Nearly a decade ago, Crowe’s singular cover of another Leonard Cohen masterwork, “Hallelujah“, had the rare distinction of twice being featured by UK trade Journal “Record of the Day” – before becoming a world-wide favourite. Now, her version of “Bird on a Wire” receives encore coverage from DrHGuy, AKA Allan Showalter, the erudite and entertaining blogger behind the web’s go-to sites for “a pastiche of posts with song, dance, snappy chatter, and notes on prose, poesy, love, lust, life, & Leonard Cohen”.

Allison Crowe pre-concert at Evangelische Osterkirche, Berlin, Germany – Billie Woods foto

Says the good Doctor:

“Allison Crowe’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s classic ‘Bird On The Wire‘ is mournful and, true to the lyrics of the song, conscientiously abjures cheap conventional sentiment or ginning up the type of pseudo-consolation that relies on false promises of living happily ever after, e.g., that irreparable conflicts will somehow be resolved, emotional damages repaired, or the pain of personal loss alleviated. Yet, Crowe’s voice and phrasing convey such empathy and intimacy that solace and succor are nonetheless granted through grace.”

It’s a great cover of a great song.”

This holiday week Allison Crowe is busy rehearsing the cast of “Newfoundland Vinyl“. She’s Music Director of this play – a rollicking ride through popular music’s coming of age in Canada’s most eastern province, the island of Newfoundland. Written and directed by Jeff Pitcher, the show debuts at the Gros Morne Theatre Festival this July 13.

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Bird on a Wire

Allison Crowe sings to be free. Herewith, Leonard Cohen’s “Bird on the Wire“.

YouTube Preview Image

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Double Dip of Leonard Cohen Ballet News

Marvellous and mysterious blogger DrHGuy, miner of many Leonard Cohen-faceted diamonds, today presents a post de deux on Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet and the recent engagement of musician Allison Crowe – performing Cohen’s “Hallelujah” with the RWB:

http://1heckofaguy.com/2012/06/16/allison-crowe-gets-the-pointe +

http://drhguy.posterous.com/ballet-with-allison-crowe

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RWB’s Leonard Cohen Ballet Success Rolls North in New Program

“Leonard Cohen’s music comes to life at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet“, CBC News reports earlier this month. After profoundly moving audiences during its world premiere run at Manitoba’s Centennial Concert Hall, this weekend “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen” rolls into Northern Manitoba for performances in: The Pas, May 25; Flin Flon, May 26; and Thompson, MB, May 27. In these communities, the Jorden Morris-choreographed “Doorway” is on a program with Peter Quanz’s “In Tandem” and Brian Macdonald’s “Pas D’Action“.

In 1959, it was Brian Macdonald’s “Les Whoops-De-Doo” that the RWB premiered in Flin Flon. And, it’s another Macdonald creation, 1970’s “The Shining People of Leonard Cohen“, which premiered in Paris, France, that marked the first time a professional theatre or dance company produced the works of Canada’s iconic songsmith on stage.

Of the “Shining People” production, cultural commentator Max Wyman notes: “That was absolutely in tune with the zeitgeist. But it was intriguing stuff as well. People loved it.” (More from Wyman, and many more people on the inspiring story of the “constant phoenix” that is the RWB can be enjoyed in the award-winning documentary “40 Years of One Night Stands: The Story of Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet“.)

Of the newest ballet to the words and music of Cohen, Alison Mayes of The Winnipeg Free Press recounts: “Last year, Winnipeg’s Jorden Morris was asked to choreograph a pas de deux to Leonard Cohen’s soulful ‘Dance Me to the End of Love‘ for the nationally televised Genie Awards. It was so well received that the Royal Winnipeg Ballet commissioned Morris to create a longer work to songs by the legendary Cohen. The 44-year-old dancemaker, who teaches at the RWB School and created the company’s hits Peter Pan and Moulin Rouge” now is opening “The Doorway“.

In it, Corps de Ballet member Sophia Lee, (paired with Jaime Vargas for the Genies sensation), dances “Hallelujah” – to the voice and piano of Allison Crowe. On opening, Crowe spoke with CBC Manitoba Scene Producer Andrea Ratuski: “I feel so humbled and so grateful to be a part of this. This is such an amazing company to be able to work with and I’m just so excited. It’s so beautiful to be able to watch Sophia dance — and all the other dancers, too — all the songs. They translate so beautifully. You can kind of see the lyrics within the dance. It’s gorgeous.”

RWB’s Sophia Lee dances to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” w. Allison Crowe onstage (CBC News – screen-cap)

Feelings shared by the audience. “Spine-tingling” That’s how Holly Harris, dance reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press, describes the ballet performance of “Hallelujah“. Dan Aysan, owner of Winnipeg’s renowned Selim’s Antiques, and RWB season ticket-holder for much of 26 years posts: “Well… the Royal Winnipeg Ballet surprised me last night. Everything I had ever wanted them to do was done! They focused on the dance and not overwhelming production… and it captivated. The lighting and sound production were fantastic… but rarely did they overshadow the dancers themselves. ‘Luminous‘ was astonishing and EXACTLY the type of work I hope the RWB considers doing more of. ‘The Doorway’ was a wild mix of dance, live music and spoken word that surprised me with it’s depth and simplicity (how often do you get dancers’ movements, Leonard Cohen’s words & music with a smattering of Peter Gzowski’s voice mashed up on stage ?!?)”

CHVN Radio’s Adrienne Daniels attended the opening, and comments: “the triumph of this performance was Mr. Cohen himself. He wasn’t there, but the RWB used audio from interviews he did regarding the songs being danced to and it gave such an incredible insight into the performance that it took it to that magical level. Where spirit and art connect and you FEEL the music. You feel it in your soul, its tangible with your hands and you can literally taste it.

“I was witness to one of the most moving spectacles of human expression that I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. My soul took flight for over 2 hours as I watched the poetic nature of the human form in motion; dancing, swaying, fighting, loving, understanding and confusing all at once.”

Details of “The Doorway“, “In Tandem” and “Pas D’Action” performances this weekend, (to recorded music), can be found on the RWB’s site @ http://www.rwb.org/

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Hallelujah ballet

“Spine-tingling.”

That’s how Holly Harris, dance reviewer for the Winnipeg Free Press, describes this performance of “Hallelujah“.

Corps de Ballet member Sophia Lee, fresh from a lead role as “First” in the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s production of Mark Godden’s “Svengali“, here dances Leonard Cohen’s modern song classic. Allison Crowe sings and plays piano on-stage with Lee in the world premiere of “The Doorway“, choreographed by Jorden Morris. RWB Soloist Jo-Ann Gudilin (nee Sundermeier), “Mother” in “Svengali“, dons the blue dress to perform “Hallelujah” with Crowe on alternate dates.

(CBC News – screen-caps)

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Get with the program

Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet published a lovely “Playbill” size program for its “Pure Ballet” production. Here’s the page therein containing the bio of Allison Crowe, and, the person who made the music that made the dance, “The Doorway” – Leonard Cohen!

click on the image to read full-size

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Chocolodka at the Dance

Today is the final performance of the debut run of “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen” and the season finale for Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Following this Mother’s Day performance of “Pure Ballet” we salute music, dance, motherhood, you and me, a dog named Boo, and all else, with this special elixir – Chocolodka. Na zdrowie! Sláinte!

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CHOCOLODKA

And, for the instructional inspirational:

How To Make The Original Chocolodka – The Video

NB pictured in this post is Chocolodka: Travellers Edition – the creation of which, in an hotel room, requires some variance from the traditional methodology – though the ingredients remain true to the original recipe, and, according to all involved, optimal standards for Chocolodka have been maintained. Furthermore, no one was harmed in the making of this product. In fact, quite the contrary :)

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Giving credit – where credit is due

Here’s a page from the program for “Pure Ballet” – noting the credits for “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen“. Since Allison Crowe is performing onstage – well, she’s not in position to take photos! So, we’ll look for other artifacts, such as this one, to bring us all to the dance…

Credits – click on image

I’m just back from trekking half-way ‘cross Canada and back, to be present for the public debut of “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen“. This new dance piece is exciting and inspiring, and part of a brilliant mixed program, “Pure Ballet” presented by Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet.

After unpacking, and sitting back down at my home computer, I came upon a sour review of the art and entertainment in a newspaper item. As it did not reflect the experience shared by thousands of people this week in Winnipeg, it, and some friendly encouragement by a fellow LeonardCohenFiles.com forum member, I’ve put my hand to at least trying to offer a glimpse into what it’s like… amazing, wonderful, magic… read on, if it be your will :)

Exciting Ballet News

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Tonight is RWB’s World Premiere of “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen”

CBC Arts Correspondent and SCENE Producer Andrea Ratuski attended dress rehearsal, and files this report on the RWB’s “Pure Ballet” and the World Premiere of “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen“.

Leonard Cohen’s music comes to life at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet

As you’d imagine with the words and music of Leonard Cohen, there’s great range and variety in the program – so, consider this as being treated to a flake…

And, heading into soundcheck at Manitoba’s 2305-seat Centennial Concert Hall – here’s the view from the sound-board.

Tonight is the opening of “Pure Ballet” – and the World Premiere of “The Doorway – Scenes from Leonard Cohen“. This ballet, choreographed by Jorden Morris, invites us to explore the words and music of Leonard Cohen. Allison Crowe performs “Hallelujah” in this piece, and the song is danced by Sophia Lee in performances on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday. Jo-Ann Gudilin (nee Sundermeier) dances the role on Thursday and Saturday.

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