Friday, January 28, 2011

Saints: Joan of Arc

Leonard Cohen: Joan of Arc


Joan of Arc may be the most famous of the martyr saints, so I need not tell her story in detail. Leonard Cohen shows himself to be a gifted story teller here. He reimagines her martyrdom as a wedding between Joan of Arc and the flames that would consume her. Cohen has Joan at the last tired of war, and maybe seeking release. The song dates from 1970, so it may reflect Cohen’s feelings about the Vietnam War in this way.

The funny thing is, I don’t really like the music of Leonard Cohen that much. His devotees are passionate about him, and will probably resent my saying so, but I find that a little of his voice goes a long way. In fact, I never would have known about this song at all, were it not for an amazing cover by Darrell Scott. There is an informal rule here at Star Maker that we should not post anything released after 2000. We’ve bent that rule a number of times, but Scott’s Joan of Arc is from 2008, so that’s pushing it. That said, if one of my fellow Star Makers should happen to post Scott’s version in the comments, I won’t tell. I really like Cohen’s original as well, now that I’ve found it, but I just don’t know if I would want to listen to the entire album it came from in one sitting.

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