Naima Bock Shares Cover Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’

    Naima Bock has offered her take on Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’. The cover was engineered and produced by Ali Chant at Bristol’s The Playpen Studio. Listen to it below.

    “I first found out about Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long Marianne’ when I was walking in Fordham Park in New Cross, London as a young teenager,” Bock explained in a press release. “I saw ‘To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again’ inscribed on a bench plate in memory of a woman called Marianne (this bench has now sadly gone). The lyrics touched me in a profound way, and I remember crying a little when I saw them. These words in the context of someone’s passing were so profound and (for me) encompassed all of life and its constant tides. Of course, I later went home and listened the hell out of Mr. Cohen, which I would continue to do for many years after, always finding safety in his voice and words.”

    Bock continued:

    We (myself and the band) had been playing this song as a cover during our tours in 2022 and when we went in with Ali Chant we decided to record a live version of it. I always felt nervous about recording a cover of Leonard Cohen, it obviously never stands up to the original but I wanted to do it justice and if nothing else, try not to diminish it in any way. My feelings around this recording were somewhat complicated and although I could recognise how good the band (Meitar Wegman on Saxophone, Cassidy Hansen on drums, Clem Appleby on bass/ electric guitar and Oliver Hamilton on violin, everyone on backing vocals) sounded, I didn’t like my vocal delivery. That is until I heard the backing vocals come in on a later chorus and something inside me clicked and I fell in love with what we had done.

    I have always felt hugely supported by the musicians I play with and when I heard their voices in this recording it reminded me to be accepting and LOVING of imperfections, imperfections in my voice which I have always (like many singers) been painfully aware of, imperfections in art, in myself. I thought if I didn’t want to present something imperfect to the world then where do I stand morally in regards to what people consume, perfection only? This is the reality for many people, not just in artistic expression but in appearance, career trajectory etc. perfection only pleases. This is not only unrealistic but also detrimental to our minds and souls, we never will be perfect and if all we consume feels like it is, then we must be less. This is not a game that I will support, so here it is, my lovingly given imperfect version of ‘So long, Marianne’. I also altered the lyrics from ‘Violet park’ to ‘Fordham park’ to honour the Marianne who introduced me (from the other side) to Leonard Cohen.

    Bock’s debut album, Giant Palm, arrived in July of last year. Earlier this year, she shared the song ‘Lies’. Check out our Artist Spotlight interview with Naima Bock.

    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis
    Konstantinos Pappis is a writer, journalist, and music editor at Our Culture. His work has also appeared in Pitchfork, GIGsoup, and other publications. He currently lives in Athens, Greece.

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