My Leonard Cohen (3 stars)

My Leonard Cohen

Rearranged and reinterpreted covers of Cohen's classics

Australian covers performer Stewart D'Arrietta was last at the Fringe with 2018's Tom Waits tribute Belly of a Drunken Piano, and somehow that show makes more sense than this, his tribute to Leonard Cohen, which played in Edinburgh for the two years prior. D'Arrietta's voice is low and gravelly, surely more suited to the dark blues of Waits than the uncategorisable pop poetics of Cohen; yet while it's true that very few people could surely pull off a pitch-perfect Cohen imitation, D'Arrietta doesn't so much make these songs his own as rent them out and rearrange the furniture in attractive fashion.

Seated at the piano with a trio of experienced local session musicians behind him, it's the sense of storytelling which feels as though it grants D'Arrietta licence to have a crack at Cohen's music. He tells of the singer's 'muse' Marianne Ilhen and Cohen's final correspondence with her before 'So Long, Marianne'; the dark legacy of the Holocaust which was the unlikely inspiration for 'Dance Me to the End of Love', given a klezmer-style update here; and of the flirtation with religion and bankruptcy which brought about the 'I'm Your Man' tour. Every seat in this large room is filled and the closing 'Hallelujah' is greeted like the inter-generational pop classic it's become, a sign of Cohen's posthumous popularisation to the extent that he's now a covers-friendly artist.

Assembly Rooms, until 25 Aug, 6.30pm, £15–£16.50 (£14–£15.50).

My Leonard Cohen

  • 3 stars

Go Productions An Edinburgh Fringe hit of 2016 and 2017, My Leonard Cohen also sold out the Sydney Opera House and Adelaide Fringe. D'Arrietta and his band return with their rousing celebration of the late, legendary Cohen. Arresting and imaginative arrangements of Cohen's best work, punctuated with poetic anecdotes…

Comments

1. Alan Campbell9 Aug 2019, 10:00pm Report

Having been impressed by Stewart d'Arietta at the Adelaide Finge, in March, I booked to see him again in Edinburgh. I didn't think he could improve on his Adelaide show - HOW WRONG COULD I BE. He was outstanding, as we're the musicians who appeared with him. Definitely a show not to be missed.

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