Friday, 11 November 2016

Dance me through the panic

I do not often blog about the news - not a word about the American election and the no confidence motion against Pres Zuma. But a musical legend died this morning at the age of 82. Leonard Cohen brought an amazing body of work to this world to enjoy - his last album was released this year. Everybody is busy posting their favorite Cohen songs on Facebook today - I am listening to the mix on You tube. A big part of especially my student and single days had some of his songs in my playlist. "Take this waltz", "First we take Manhattan", "Joan of Arc" and later "Closing time" are still favorites. "Hallelujah" is even sang in our church in a slightly altered form and possibly his best known song - even my kids know it by heart.

My favorite however has always been "Dance me to the end of love" with it's beautiful melody and tango rhythm.  But did you know that this song although it has the feel (and meaning ) of a love song was actually inspired by the Holocaust. This is what he said in an interview about the song: "'Dance Me to the End Of Love' ... it's curious how songs begin because the origin of the song, every song, has a kind of grain or seed that somebody hands you or the world hands you and that's why the process is so mysterious about writing a song. But that came from just hearing or reading or knowing that in the death camps, beside the crematoria, in certain of the death camps, a string quartet was pressed into performance while this horror was going on, those were the people whose fate was this horror also. And they would be playing classical music while their fellow prisoners were being killed and burnt. So, that music, "Dance me to your beauty with a burning violin," meaning the beauty there of being the consummation of life, the end of this existence and of the passionate element in that consummation. But, it is the same language that we use for surrender to the beloved, so that the song — it's not important that anybody knows the genesis of it, because if the language comes from that passionate resource, it will be able to embrace all passionate activity."

What I will take as a lesson from Leonard Cohen , his life and this song is to live passionately. Have a look at the live performances of his songs even in his last years - he sings and performs with an elegant passion. I have been lacking the passion for living life to the full for such a long time - it just got lost in the jumble of living, raising kids, losing loved ones - and it been in my thoughts the last while. I am doing a bit better than a while ago but I am really not there yet. I keep wondering if we all loose our passion, our dreams, our connections in the grudge of life. I am so going to turn this around and live fully again.I have to - I need to dance through the panic.

Farewell Leonard Cohen - and thanks for the inspiration and the music.


  1. The "juggling act" gets to us? I feel the same!

  2. I have to say I'm yet to make a connection between this song writer and any of his songs. Need to listen more closely. Yes life does get in the way but we have to make a conscious effort to BREATHE

  3. What a powerful post. I didn't know the origin of that song. I feel bereft, this year has seen the passing of the 2 musicians who were my greatest inspiration. Bowie personified the creative force and Cohen was poetry in flesh. Like Bowie, Cohen's last album was a goodbye, it's so hard to say goodbye

  4. The power of music is immense - I've got to say it (and actual dancing itself) has certainly helped me get through our recent rough patch. Here's hoping your passions in this life will once more be reignited through the help of music too.

  5. "I keep wondering if we all loose our passion, our dreams, our connections in the grudge of life. I am so going to turn this around and live fully again.I have to - I need to dance through the panic."


  6. Music speaks to my soul in ways nothing else can. When I lock myself into my scrap studio...I always listen to my favourite worship songs. I always feel recharged and refreshed after this xxxx

    1. Music is truly what speaks to our souls


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