A Big Sur Podcast

#47 Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai. A conversation with author Matti Friedman

November 10, 2022 Magnus Toren, host Season 1 Episode 47
A Big Sur Podcast
#47 Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai. A conversation with author Matti Friedman
A Big Sur Podcast
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Show Notes

Talking with Matti Friedman from his home in Jerusalem. 

Very grateful to him for writing this book and for sharing his stories!

WHO BY FIRE: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai
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In 1973, Leonard Cohen announced he was done with music for good. The same year, in October, war broke out in Israel.

The Yom Kippur War would become the bloodiest in Israel’s young history—and Cohen was there to witness it. As the war broke out, he left his home on the Greek island of Hydra to fly into the warzone.

Leonard Cohen did not say much about why he went to the front. What we know is that in the months that followed, he would write Who By Fire” and "Lover Lover Lover."

So what was it that happened in the desert in October of 1973 between a depressed musician and young soldiers going off to battle? How did it remake Leonard Cohen? How did it transform those who heard him play? And how did the war transform Israel itself?

Those are some of the questions Matti Friedman explains in his beautiful new book Who By Fire: Leonard Cohen in the Sinai.

Matti and I get into some areas worth thinking about: Non violence, pacifism, militarism, the Poets prerogative, loyalty...

Matti Friedman online.
Link to episode #28 with Sula Nichols
btw. My singing a bit of Cohen was to avoid getting into copyright problems. I asked Sony for rights but they have not yet responded. I will replace my a capella singing with proper Cohen if they give us the rights. 😊

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