Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Leonard Cohen's posthumous album (2019)
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Hartmut
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Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by Hartmut »

So ..., “The Night of Santiago”, one of the songs on Leonard's new album “Thanks for the Dance”.

The song – like “Take This Waltz” – is based on a Spanish language poem by Federico García Lorca.

I've put together some resources about the poem and its translations, for anyone that is interested.

The original poem “La casada infiel”:
https://www.poemas-del-alma.com/la-casada-infiel.htm


The classic translation (“The Faithless Wife”) by J. L. Gili:
http://www.boppin.com/lorca/faith.html

A newer translation (“The Unfaithful Housewife”) by Conor O’Callaghan:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetry ... -housewife

Some notes (that mention Leonard) on O’Callaghan's translation:
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetry ... rc-a-lorca


And, finally, Leonard's translation:
http://www.leonardcohen.it/discografia/ ... -santiago/

It is also to be found in Leonard's “Book of Longing”, under the title “The Faithless Wife”. You can hear him read it in the audio version of that book.

The Philip Glass song based on Leonard's translation:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uoZs7An7WyY
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alb123
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by alb123 »

Thank you for sharing those links @Hartmut! :D :D :D

I'm shocked to learn this is not a 100% original Leonard Cohen idea/framework, however, I'm not shocked to learn Leonard got inspiration from a Federico García Lorca poem. Leonard really respected that man.
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Hartmut
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by Hartmut »

alb123 wrote: Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:25 pm Thank you for sharing those links @Hartmut! :D :D :D
You're very welcome! :-)
alb123 wrote: Wed Dec 25, 2019 7:25 pm I'm shocked to learn this is not a 100% original Leonard Cohen idea/framework,
Then you'd better not examine the background of "Alexandra Leaving" too closely ...
its4inthemorning
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by its4inthemorning »

Hartmut, thanks for the links, I was not aware of the connection to Lorca's poem. Interesting that one of my favorite lines that I cited earlier, "Though I've forgotten half my life, I still remember this" does not seem to appear in Lorca's poem and was evidently Leonard's addition.

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kirahytrou65
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by kirahytrou65 »

Useful links! Thanks!
TomBohan
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by TomBohan »

Perhaps the reason for the wonderful couplet “Though I’ve forgotten half my life, I still remember this” appears in Night of Santiago, but not in La Casada Infiel comes from the fact that LC was an old man when he signed off on his version and García Lorca was a young man (in 1928) when he published his version.
fradi0
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by fradi0 »

yeah I agree with you tom
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ForYourSmile
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Re: Some resources on “The Night of Santiago”

Post by ForYourSmile »

Very much in agreement, that line is understood very well by those of us who already have in our memory some moments of life. Whit this addition, the poem takes on a more nostalgic perspective.

Cohen's adaptations are free and, furthermore, we have to know the translation, which is also another adaptation. That is why I consider important the resources provided by Hartmut.

For example, I still think there is an important nuance between “wife” and “married” (of Castilian “casada”, from original poem “La casada infiel”). Married is just a social commitment, right?

Lorca's influence was fundamental in Cohen, it has lasted and he has always recognized it in many ways. In my opinion, the importance of the discovery has to do with Cohen's age and with the brilliance, strength and free expression of Lorca's work, more than with his literal content. Let's keep in mind when Cohen found that book, Lorca's assassination and the Spanish Civil War were myths of that time. I have perceived interpretations of Cohen that I understand as an idealized elaboration in the mind of an extraordinary poet. Cohen has been a powerful intellectual who has immersed in many different influences.

If you are interested in this relationship, I invite you to review https://www.leonardcohenforum.com/viewtopic.php?t=4010 “Influence of Federico García Lorca” is from 2005, in this forum you will find many other related topics. There tomsakic copied “The Faithless Wife”, at that time I still didn't have “Book of Longing” and it was a gift to me. tomsakic says “Sounds like a song to me…” and he was so right.
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