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By June 30, 2017News

Leonard Cohen

What can I say about Leonard Cohen, the man was a legend. Singer, songwriter, musician, poet, novelist, and painter. His work explored all aspects of the human experience and touched so many of us throughout his career and his life.

I have always been a huge fan of Leonard Cohen. I first discovered his music in the early 1970’s and, as a fellow Canadian artist, he not only provided me with a poetic musical back-drop, but gave me the guidance and wisdom needed to excel in my own art.

Beyond all that however, I would say that most of all he taught me how to go deep. I have listened to every song, album and cd he has released and have my favourites I continually

go back to on a near daily basis. I have seen him in concert eight times from 1985 to 2005 but it was the ninth concert that was the most memorable for me…Vancouver April 19, 2009.

My phone rang the day before his concert and to my complete surprise, Mr. Cohen himself was on the other end of the line and asked if he could have the honour of meeting with me backstage. It took a moment for this to register in my mind just who was calling me and my silence produced a deep gravelly response “James … are you still there?” …”The honour is all mine” I retorted and I ended up having an incredible but surreal conversation with someone who I have admired my entire life. Backstage we bonded over our love of art, music and our connection with the darkness of humanity. We exchanged gifts of art and periodically kept in touch up until his death last year.

Leonard Cohen was, and still is, one of the most fascinating and enigmatic artists of our time. He was a Renaissance man who crossed the elusive artistic borders with the ease and grace of a soaring bird. He enriched our understanding of the human existence and offered us a worldliness maturity if we followed his journey below the surface.

Cohen died on November 7, 2016 at the age of 82 at his home in Los Angeles and his legacy is an enormous one. I feel fortunate to have connected with this incredible human being and I know his impact on me will be felt until I take my last breathe and submerge into the wait-ing darkness.

-James Picard


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