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Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen) - Allison Crowe live performance
"It's, as I say, a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.... It's a rather joyous song." ~ Leonard Cohen, creator of the song, Hallelujah. He says: "I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view... It's the notion that there is no perfection ~ that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances."
Canadian indie singer-songwriter Allison Crowe's uniquely potent interpretation is heard on her album/CD, "Tidings".
Allison Crowe's live take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" so redefined an approach to the song it was plenty controversial in the first years of this century. Once that dam burst, and hundreds of covers poured forth, Crowe's version took its place as a much-loved, classic, interpretation.
(The song enjoys increasingly wide appreciation - even marching into the mainstream with performances by American Idol contestants Jason Castro, Lee DeWyze and by UK X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, Dutch X Factor champ Lisa Hordijk, Polish Idol contestant Kasia Popowska, New Jersey rocker Bon Jovi, and Battle of the Blades' skater Claude Lemieux. This popularizing continues - with Maddy Curtis, auditioning in 2010 for American Idol, performing the song, and Matt Morris and Justin Timberlake duetting at the Hope for Haiti event, followed by Céline Dion with the Canadian Tenors' on the Oprah Winfrey Show - the latter a prelude to the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony at which kd lang performed the song. Opera singer Renee Fleming and singer-actress Jennifer Hudson are among the latest to record Hallelujah.)
Leonard Cohen himself has been inspiring audiences with a revitalized take on his latest tour - witness his performance of Hallelujah as the sun set on Glastonbury 2008.
"Simply, a song so beautiful (Hallelujah) has never been sung so beautifully." ~ We Write Lists (UK)
"It's not hard to see why Crowe's Hallelujah -- recorded in a single take -- is popular. It's one of Leonard Cohen's most affecting songs, and the 26-year-old, accompanying herself on piano, makes it her own with raw honesty and formidable vocal power. It's simultaneously heart-breaking and redemptive, and it has captured the imaginations of people around the world. 'The song itself is just so emotionally resonant,' Crowe said modestly this week." ~ Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist (Canada)
"Bet you thought you heard all the versions you need to hear of this song, right? Think again, because Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with. She is from Vancouver Island in Canada, descended from Scottish, Irish, and Manx stock. She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing." ~ Record of the Day (UK)
"I originally had a different version of 'Hallelujah' on that scene (Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II) - it was the version by Allison Crowe, and it was really beautiful. Too beautiful, as it turned out..." Zack Snyder, Director, The Watchmen movie
"Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen. This song has somehow become Crowe's signature, if a singer who defies description as stubbornly as she does has a signature... Cohen's original version is a spoken poem, all of the meaning contained in the words. Crowe's version is a living thing, a meditation and a celebration and a benediction." ~ anacronym (Canada)
"Crowe's warm, natural, passionate - and need I add lovely? - voice are perhaps shown to best effect on another glorious standard, Leonard Cohen's magnificent and deeply spiritual quest for faith, Hallelujah." ~ Martin Levin, Women's Post (Canada)
"j'ai rarement été bouleversée à ce point par une voix féminine. Pure comme de la glace, puissante et même violente sur la reprise de l'Hallelujah de Leonard Cohen." (en Francais - English translation follows) "I have never been so moved by a woman's voice. Pure as ice, powerful and even violent on the cover of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah." ~ SplinterMuse (France)
"(Jeff) Buckley especially just blew the song to pieces and every artist after him has tried and failed to put it back together. Until now. Allison Crowe manages to pump 'Hallelujah' full of all the soaring vocals and raw emotion that it requires. And the result is a big beautiful lump in the throat." ~ Muruch (USA)
In a tribute to Leonard Cohen, featuring covers by Judy Collins, Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, Katie Melua and others, MOJO says: "Once famously described by the Vancouver Courier as possessing a style akin to 'Elton John meets Edith Piaf', the Canadian singer-songwriter Allison Crowe is renowned for her ability to blend control and melodrama."