Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

General discussion about Leonard Cohen's songs and albums
iso
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by iso » Sat Sep 05, 2009 3:25 am

This is a really interesting thread and all the ground regarding lyrics has been covered pretty thoroughly. My only desire to contribute is to say that the chorus - is an incantation. Whether or not it is a dead father or this or that god, the religious quality in this song goes beyond the lyrical construction/double meanings. It is all too easy to infer the entire meaning from the lyrics and ignore what is going on in the music. BUt this is not only a poem, but also a song.
holydove
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by holydove » Tue Sep 08, 2009 8:36 pm

Iso, that is a great point; and the sound of that chorus certainly has the spellbinding effect that incantations are meant to have (at least for me it does, as it makes me want to whirl and whirl!). . .
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sturgess66
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by sturgess66 » Sat Sep 12, 2009 11:05 am

Video clip from Harry Rasky documentary that includes "Lover, Lover, Lover."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCe1S1m-Dqo
holydove
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by holydove » Mon Sep 14, 2009 5:25 pm

Sturgess 66, I think that is the most beautiful version of Lover. . . I have heard; thank you so much for the video clip; any idea if or where one could get a copy of Harry Rasky's documentary; I would love to see the whole thing.
JennyB
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by JennyB » Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:04 pm

In the light of your discussions, I thought you might be interested in how I came to read your posts. I knew nothing about the Sufi culture until I met a man on a bus recently who told me something about it. I have no Leonard Cohen records but used to listen to his music in the 70's and recently had the good fortune to go to one of his concerts. While there, I closed my eyes to listen to one of his songs (sorry I can't remember which) and was struck by how the physical effect it had on me, reminded me of what the guy on the bus had said about the Sufi poets. In that moment I had a very strong feeling that Leonard Cohen was involved in sufism and resolved to google the two things together, so arriving at your forum discussion!
holydove
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by holydove » Sun Oct 25, 2009 11:02 pm

JennyB, that is such a beautiful story! A great example of cosmic convergence, which seems to happen alot when one connects with Leonard Cohen - hmmm. . . Thank you for sharing.
MaryB
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by MaryB » Mon Oct 26, 2009 2:38 am

sturgess66 wrote:Video clip from Harry Rasky documentary that includes "Lover, Lover, Lover."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oCe1S1m-Dqo
And even sweating, he looks good and my, my, my - not too shabby in a tight black t-shirt. But, it does not detract tooooo much from this oh so heartfelt rendition. Thanks again Linda for finding all these links and in many cases bringing them to the forefront again.

Warmest regards,
Mary
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indy
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by indy » Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:44 am

Two years ago a friend sent me a bunch of Cohen CDs. I knew nothing about Leonard Cohen except that my friend thought very highly of his music and poetry. When I first heard “The Guests” followed by “Hallelujah,” I started to cry. I felt a connection between “The Guests” and the Sufis and wondered if Leonard had been influenced by them. Now I see that he was:
LC first mentioned Rumi – and also Attar, another Sufi poet – on the cover of Recent Songs (1979) in connection with “The Guests” and “The Window”; the same year he also told Harry Rasky about the influence of Rumi on him when writing “The Guests”.
I don’t think all of Cohen’s songs are about God and I don’t know anything about Midrash, but I, too, thought these lines referred to God when I first heard them:

“I never turned aside,” he said,
“I never walked away.
It was you who built the temple,
it was you who covered up my face.”

I can see how they could be read/heard differently though, which isn’t surprising because I think one of the hallmarks of good poetry is that it is open to multiple interpretations.
"Walker, there is no road, only wind-trails in the sea." Antonio Machado, translated by Robert Bly
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mutti
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by mutti » Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:28 am

For the moment 'Lover, Lover, Lover' is one of my favorite songs...I have been playing it in the car while I drive to work at full blast...
from Commander Cohen CD...the drums are amazing...Leonard is amazing..I just sing along and play it over and over..
part of my obsession and addiction I guess...and then next week it will be another song..I love discovering them - those that I have always known but hear again in a different way...
I also love Rumi and have 6 of Rumi books. On my wedding night my husband read a quote and we put it on our wedding invitation...
thats all I have to say but I am really into listening to Leonard sing this all through his life and all the latest tour you tubes..
its great!
Mutti 8)
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st theresa
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by st theresa » Sun Jun 06, 2010 4:11 am

I noticed on this thread that someone is interested in hearing Coleman Barks read Rumi.
I came across this movie a couple of years ago --and was totally entranced. Having a sufi
brother (also a Leonard Cohen fan) I had to get a copy for him, and later got one for myself as well.
Well worth the time to view and buy.
http://www.rumi-turningecstatic.com/
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mat james
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by mat james » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:07 pm

He said, "I locked you in this body,
I meant it as a kind of trial.
You can use it for a weapon,
or to make some woman smile."
"Lover....come back to me..."

I too interpret this as Leonard's G~d talking; Any one could make this Solomon-esq request of "Lover..come back to me" but in this song I interpret the singer of the chorus as Leonard's G~d.
The attitude/suggestion that God is our (our Soul's) Lover goes right back to Songs of Solomon. The Sufi's and Leonard and I suppose many others have used this metaphor.
and for me, Leonard has simply followed an ancient pattern; knowingly; respectfully.

The point of interest/contention for me is:
Is G`d singing the request
or Leonard's Soul?

?

Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
holydove
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by holydove » Tue Jun 22, 2010 9:37 pm

Hi Mat - thank you for your post.

My interpretation of the "Lover, lover.. . come back to me" chorus is actually that sometimes Leonard is singing those words to his God, & sometimes God is singing those same words to Leonard - it's a dialogue, & they are taking turns singing those words to each other. The reason I see it that way is because, in my perspective, that's how the verses are - for instance, in the verse you mentioned ("I locked you in this body. . .") - that would be God talking to Leonard; & in the verses ". . .I said Father change my name. . .", or "Then let me start again. . ." - that would be Leonard talking to his God. The above-mentioned verses are a few examples, but I think throughout the song, God & Leonard are engaging in a back-and-forth dialogue, & depending on who has just spoken in the verse, I think, possibly, that's the one who then sings the words of the chorus. For me, that's part of the beauty of the song/poem - God & Leonard are both expressing this intense longing for each other.

Your question about whether it is God, or Leonard's soul speaking is an interesting one - I like the idea that it can be either one. Ancient Indian texts/philosophies (e.g. Vedic, Yogic, Hindu texts) teach that there is the individual soul & the universal soul, & that they are not really separate from each other; & the aim of Yogic practices is to become aware of the "oneness" of the individual & universal soul. (I'm pretty sure Leonard has studied Yogic philosophy). The texts often speak of the purpose as "merging" one's individual soul with the universal, but I've also heard it said that, in reality, they are never apart, but our perception creates the illusion of separateness, so the purpose of the meditation practices are to change one's perception, so that the illusion will be dissolved, & one will be aware of the oneness that already exists. In the West, the word God is often used to signify Universal Soul, in the context of these teachings. So, when you say, is it God or his Soul speaking, maybe those two are the same thing; or, depending on how you look at it, maybe the answer would depend on which soul you are referring to. For me, both (or all three) interpretations would make sense, & they would all be equally beautiful!
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mat james
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by mat james » Thu Jun 24, 2010 10:37 am

The texts often speak of the purpose as "merging" one's individual soul with the universal, but I've also heard it said that, in reality, they are never apart, but our perception creates the illusion of separateness,
That makes a lot of sense to me, holydove. Nicely put!

Mat.
"Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart." San Juan de la Cruz.
kalinowt
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by kalinowt » Wed Aug 18, 2010 11:40 pm

Recently posted Critical Review of Leonard Cohen speaks about Cohen's referenc to Rumi in this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ohzz0Iv6s8

Starts at 4:15
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TineDoes
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Re: Lover, Lover, Lover & Rumi

Post by TineDoes » Sat Sep 04, 2010 8:12 pm

iso wrote:This is a really interesting thread and all the ground regarding lyrics has been covered pretty thoroughly. My only desire to contribute is to say that the chorus - is an incantation. Whether or not it is a dead father or this or that god, the religious quality in this song goes beyond the lyrical construction/double meanings. It is all too easy to infer the entire meaning from the lyrics and ignore what is going on in the music. BUt this is not only a poem, but also a song.
holydove wrote:I like the idea that it can be either one. Ancient Indian texts/philosophies (e.g. Vedic, Yogic, Hindu texts) teach that there is the individual soul & the universal soul, & that they are not really separate from each other; & the aim of Yogic practices is to become aware of the "oneness" of the individual & universal soul.
The basic rythme that supports the song Lover Lover Lover, I is based on basic drumbeat of the Derwish dance the ‘la ilaha illalah’. This dance is the living essence of the Sufi religion, the meaning is Unity or Oneness.
This dance starts by many, shoulder to shoulder, going round in a circle. With every step the head is inclined then to the left then to the right. This slight movement takes place at the axis (the point where the spine joins the scull. During the dance the above words are repeatedly spoken with the rhythm which has the tempo of the heartbeat; the inner order of the heartbeat and breathing come together with the outer order of the music (and the rhythm of the whole Universe). It is based on the belief that we ourselves like everything in this universe bear the characteristics of or bear traces of the Devine. (A similarity to Buddhism?) The purpose of the Derwish dance is for each partaker to lose his(her) individuality; to reach the absence of the ‘I’ and in trance and transform or become WE/US/ALL. People are slaves of their egos and therefore not free. Through this dance one becomes free. The dance goes on for a long long time and at one point, as a continuation, those authorized begin the famous Twirling. The origins of Twirling or turning comes from the same Persian Poet Philosopher as mentioned earlier in this thread: Havreti Mevlana Jeladun Rumi, and is based on the knowledge that everything in this Univers turns; i.e. stars, planets, atoms…..
(This information comes from the film documentary ‘Dancing in Ecstasy’ by Michele Mahrer & Nicole Ma which I dug out of my collection of dance video’s.)
When listening to Lover Lover Lover I feel this intense rhythm and have to feel the beat by closing my eyes and inclining my head from side to side.
In Lover Lover Lover the long introduction and the repetition in the chorus connects with the Sufi music it is indeed an incantation. The purpose of the dance and the music could be a clue to the meaning of the lyrics. Leonard askes to be given another name, the name his father gave him, he says is connected with his selfish, gready, etc.his ego. Maybe he wants one that unites him Love and the Universe.

Most of Leonard’s songs have a trancelike quality. The musical melodies and rhythms form a unity with the meaning of the words. He has said the two come into existence together and are therefore inseparable. I see that it is this quality of Leonard ‘s music in combination with his voice and the timeless way he has of singing, this wholeness, is what keeps me and probably all of us spellbound, that provoke the feeling of Unity and Love and binds us all together.

Lately a friend of mine also mentioned the similarities between Sufi music and the arrangement of Who By Fire. In fact she made a copy of this song for a Sufi friend of hers who had never heard of Leonard Cohen but who recognized this as Sufi music.

In the Harry Rasky’s film Song Of Leonard Cohen there is a different version of the song. This version is also Sung in the Frankfurt concert of 1979. It is a very pained version of the song. This is the text as far as I can make it out. (If someone has posted about this before, please post me the Link) Or if someone has a corrections do let me know.

I asked my father,
I said, "Father change my name."
The one I'm using now it's covered up
with fear and filth and cowardice and shame.

“I cannot change your name” he said
It is my very human (work?)
“Your name is mine” he said
And you repeat it like a mocking bird.

Lover, Lover .....

He said, "I locked you in this body,
I meant it as a kind of trial.
You can use it as a weapon,
or to make some woman smile."

Ah may my judgement never falter
It is written in the heart
Peace to those who be with me
Suffering apart.

Lover, Lover ....

Frankfurt 1979:
And/I do not trust my holy one
Or the one who is from (paxi)
The very angels are in error
The very heavens are (on me)
The world is mine
And there is only me
And there is nothing that is not my world
My broken world my whole reality.

Lover, Lover,

You may come to me in your happiness
And you may come to me in grief
You may come to me in you deepest faith
Or you may come in your coldest disbelief

In the armour of indifference
In the alibi’s of state
In the imbalance of neutrality
In the poverty of grace

Tineke
"There’s no forsaking what you love ...."

Rotterdam 2008; Antwerpen, Dublin 2009; Gent 2x, Lille , Las Vegas 2x 2010, Gent, Amsterdam, Dublin 2x 2012, Antwerp, Berlin, Rotterdam 2013
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