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2014 Feast of Cohen Concert: New Blood and a New Time
By Heather Nolan

If you are waiting with your pen poised to mark the 15th annual Feast of Cohen concert in on your calendar, there is no need to flip forward to the usual December date. This year’s concert will be taking place on September 21 at the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

Organizer Vicky Hynes said that the change in date is largely due to complications with finding an appropriate venue willing to open during the Christmas season, so the decision was made to move the date to September in order to pay tribute to Cohen’s 80th birthday.

Among this year’s featured performers are several rising stars of the newest generation of Newfoundland musicians. Hynes said that including the younger, up and coming local talent has always been an important goal for the organization of the concert.

“They have always been integral to the show,” said Hynes. “It is a great showcase for new artists interpreting the songs of the old master.”

This year, Steve Maloney is one of those younger artists joining the veterans on stage. Maloney, a long time Cohen fan and regular attendee, said he is “very honoured to be a small part of the show this year.”

“It became a tradition that myself and my aunt would go every year. It’s an incredible production,” said Maloney.

Both Kat McLevey and Aley Waterman said that the opportunity to perform encouraged them to explore Cohen’s collection of music a little further.

“I took the time to listen to pretty well his entire discography and took the time to be blown away by his lyrics,” said McLevey, “I have become a fast budding fan.”

When searching for her song choice, Waterman, an award-winning local writer as well as musician, was particularly taken by her chosen number in “how its simplicity lets the poetry of it really take the forefront.”

Hynes is thrilled at the lineup for this years’ show, which also includes guest performances by Dana Parsons, Glenn Simmons and Liz Solo, and returning performers, Bryan Hennessey, Jenny Gear, Sean Panting, and The Cohenettes: Jill Porter & Lori Cooper. Des Walsh will host the event, led by backing band Sandy Morris with The Beautiful Losers: Boomer Stamp, Kelly Russell, Derek Pelley, Dave & Geoff Panting.

And, of course, featuring Vicky Hynes herself.

“The caliber of musicianship and performance is stellar,” said Hynes. “It’s absolutely delicious to hear what they do with the songs.”

Hynes closes with a quote from Leonard himself:

“So come my friends
Be not afraid
We are so lightly here
It is in love, that we are made
In love, we disappear.”

Excerpt from the song “Boogie Street” off the album Ten New Songs by Leonard Cohen:

Tickets for what promises to be a spectacular show are $50, and can be found at the Arts and Culture Centre box office online at www.artsandculturecentre.com or  by phone 729 3900 or 1 (800) 663 9449.