en-fr  Leonard Cohen. How I Got My Song
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/leonardcohenhowigotmysong.htm.

Léonard Cohen.

Comment j'ai eu ma chanson, allocution au Prix Prince des Asturies.

Prononcée le 21 octobre 2011.

C'est un grand honneur de me trouver là, devant vous, ce soir. Peut-être, comme le grand maître, Ricardo Muti, ne suis-je pas habitué à me trouver devant un auditoire sans orchestre derrière moi, mais je ferai de mon mieux comme artiste solo ce soir.

Je suis resté toute la nuit dernière à me demander ce que je pourrais dire à cette auguste assemblée. Et après avoir mangé toutes les barres de chocolat et toutes les cacahuètes du mini-bar, j'ai grifonné quelques mots. Je ne pense pas devoir m'y référer. Bien sûr, je suis profondément touché d'être reconnu par la Fondation. Mais, je suis venu ici ce soir pour exprimer un autre aspect de ma reconnaissance. Je pense pouvoir le faire en trois ou quatre minutes -- et j'essaierai.

Lorsque je faisais mes bagages à Los angeles pour venir ici, j'étais mal à l'aise car j'ai toujours ressenti qu'un prix de poésie avait quelque chose d'ambigu. La poésie vient d'un endroit que personne ne commande et que personne ne conquiert. Aussi, j'ai un peu l'impression d'être un charlatan en acceptant un prix pour une activité que je ne commande pas. En d'autres termes, si je savais d'où viennent les bonnes chansons, j'irais là-bas plus souvent.

Il a fallu, au milieu de cette corvée de bagages, que j'aille chercher ma guitare. J'ai une guitare Conde, qui a été fabriquée en Espagne dans le formidable atelier du 7 rue Gravina, un magnifique instrument que j'ai acquis il y a plus de 40 ans. Je l'ai sorti de son étui et l'ai soulevé. Il semblait rempli d'Hélium -- il était si léger. Et je l'ai approché de mon visage. J'ai mis mon visage près de la rosette superbement dessinée, et j'ai humé le parfum du bois vivant. Vous savez que le bois ne meurt jamais.

J'ai respiré le parfum du cèdre, aussi frais que le premier jour où j'ai eu cette guitare. Et une voix semblait me dire, « tu es un vieil homme et tu n'as pas dit merci ; tu n'as pas montré ta gratitude envers le sol qui produit ce parfum. » Et ainsi, je viens ici ce soir pour remercier la terre et l'âme de ce peuple qui m'a tant donné, parce que je sais que ce n'est pas une carte d'identité qui fait un homme, ni une note de solvabilité qui fait un pays.

À présent, vous connaissez la profondeur de mon lien et de ma confraternité avec le poète Federico Garcia Lorca. Je pourrais dire que quand j'étais jeune homme, adolescent, et que j'avais soif d'une voix, j'étudiais les poètes anglais, je connaissais bien leurs œuvres et je copiais leur style, mais je ne trouvais pas de voix. Ce n'est qu'alors, quand j'ai lu, même traduite, l'oeuvre de Lorca, que j'ai compris qu'il y avait là une voix. Ce n'est pas que j'aie copié sa voix, je n'oserais pas. Mais il m'a donné la permision de trouver une voix, de localiser une voix ; c'est-à-dire, de trouver un moi, un moi qui n'est pas fixe, un moi qui lutte pour sa propre existence.

Et, en grandissant, j'ai compris que des instructions venaient avec cette voix. Quelles étaient ces instructions ? Les instructions étaient de ne jamais se lamenter pour rien. Si l'on doit exprimer la grande défaite inévitable qui nous attend tous, il faut que cela reste aux stricts confins de la dignité et de la beauté.
Et ainsi j'avais une voix, mais je n'avais pas d'instrument. Je n'avais pas de chanson.

Et maintenant je vais vous dire très brièvement la façon dont j'ai obtenu ma chanson.
Parce que -- j'étais un joueur de guitare désinvolte. Je frappais les accords. Je n'en connaissais que quelques uns. Je m'asseyais avec mes amis de l'université, buvant et chantant des airs du folklore ou les chansons populaires de l'époque, mais j'étais à mille lieues de m'imaginer en musicien ou chanteur.

Un jour, au début des années 1960, je suis allé voir ma mère chez elle, à Montréal. La maison se trouve derrière un parc et dans le parc il y a un court de tennis où beaucoup de gens viennent pour regarder les jeunes et jolies joueuses de tennis pratiquer leur sport. Je retournais dans ce parc que j'avais connu pendant mon enfance et il y avait un jeune homme qui jouait de la guitare. Il jouait de la guitare flamenco et était entouré par deux ou trois filles et garçons qui l'écoutait. J'ai adoré la manière dont il jouait. Il y avait quelque chose dans sa façon de jouer qui, qui me saisissait.

C'était comme cela que je voulais jouer, et je savais que je n'en serais jamais capable.

Et je me suis assis là avec les autres spectateurs pendant un moment, et quand il y a eu un, un silence, un silence opportun, je lui ai demandé s'il me donnerait des cours de guitare. C'était un jeune homme venant d'Espagne et nous ne pouvions communiquer que dans mon mauvais français et son mauvais français. Il ne parlait pas anglais. Et il a accepté de me donner des leçons de guitare. Je montrais du doigt la maison de ma mère que l'on pouvait voir depuis le court de tennis et nous prîmes rendez-vous ; nous nous mîmes d'accord sur le prix.

Il est venu chez ma mère le lendemain et il a dit : "Je voudrais vous entendre jouer quelque chose". J'ai essayé de jouer quelque chose. Il a dit : "Vous ne savez pas jouer, si ?" Je, j'ai dit : "Non, je ne sais vraiment pas jouer." Il a dit : "Tout d'abord, laissez-moi accorder votre guitare." Elle, elle sonne complètement faux." Alors, il a pris la guitare et, et il l'a accordée. Il a dit : "Ce n'est pas une mauvaise guitare." Ce... ce n'était pas la Conde, mais ce n'était pas une mauvaise guitare. Ensuite, il me l'a rendue. Il a dit : "Maintenant, jouez." Je ne pouvais pas jouer mieux.

Il a dit : "Laissez-moi vous montrer des accords." Et il a pris la guitare et il a produit de cette guitare un son que je n'avais jamais entendu. Et il... il a joué une série d'accords avec un tremolo et il a dit : "Maintenant, vous le faites." J'ai dit : "C'est hors de question. Je ne peux pas du tout faire cela." Il a dit : "Laissez-moi poser vos doigts sur les frettes." Et il... il a posé mes doigts sur les frettes. Et il a dit : "Maintenant, maintenant jouez." C'a été... c'a été un désastre. Il a dit : "Je reviendrai demain." Il est revenu le lendemain. Il a placé mes mains sur la guitare. Il... Il l'a disposée sur mes genoux comme il faut, et j'ai recommencé avec ces six accords, une série de six accords sur lesquels beaucoup, beaucoup de chansons de flamenco sont basées.

J'ai été un peu meilleur ce jour-là.

Le troisième jour, je me suis amélioré, un peu. Mais je connaissais les accords désormais. Et je savais que, même si je n'arrivais pas à coordonner mes doigts avec mon pouce pour produire le bon trémolo, je connaissais les accords... je les connaissais très, très bien à ce moment-là.

Le jour d'après, il n'est pas venu. Il n'est pas venu. J'avais le numéro de sa... de sa pension à Montréal. J'ai téléphoné pour savoir pourquoi il avait manqué le rendez-vous, et ils m'ont dit qu'il avait mis fin à ses jours, qu'il s'était suicidé. Je ne connaissais rien de cet homme. Je... je ne savais pas de quelle région d'Espagne il venait. Je ne savais pas pourquoi il était venu à Montréal. Je ne savais pas pourquoi il habitait là. Je ne savais pas pourquoi il était apparu là, sur ce court de tennis. Je ne savais pas pourquoi il avait mis fin à ses jours. Je... j'étais profondément attristé, bien sûr.

Mais maintenant, je vais révéler quelque chose dont je n'ai jamais dit en public. Ce sont ces six accords, c'est ce motif de guitare qui ont servi de base à toutes mes chansons et toute ma musique.

Alors maintenant, vous devez commencer à comprendre la dimension de ma gratitude envers ce pays.

Tout ce que vous avez trouvé de positif dans mon travail vient de cet endroit.

Tout, tout ce que vous avez trouvé de positif dans mes chansons et ma poésie s'est inspiré de cette terre.

Alors je vous remercie beaucoup pour la chaleureuse hospitalité que vous avez réservée à mon travail parce que c'est à vous qu'il appartient, et c'est vous qui m'avez permis d'apposer ma signature au bas de la page.

Merci beaucoup, Mesdames et Messieurs.
unit 1
http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/leonardcohenhowigotmysong.htm.
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unit 2
Leonard Cohen.
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How I Got My Song Address at the Prince Asturias Awards.
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Delivered 21 October 2011.
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It is a great honor to stand here before you tonight.
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I stayed up all night last night wondering what I might say to this august assembly.
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I don’t think I have to refer to them.
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Obviously, I am deeply touched to be recognized by the Foundation.
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But I've come here tonight to express another dimension of gratitude.
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I think I can do it in three or four minutes -- and I will try.
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Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers.
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In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from I'd go there more often.
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I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar.
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I took it out of the case and I lifted it.
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It seemed to be filled with helium -- it was so light.
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And I brought it to my face.
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You know that wood never dies.
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I inhaled the fragrance of cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar.
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Now, you know of my deep association and confraternity with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca.
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It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare.
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And as I grew older I understood that instructions came with this voice.
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What were these instructions?
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The instructions were never to lament casually.
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And so I had a voice, but I did not have an instrument.
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I did not have a song.
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And now I’m going to tell you very briefly a story of how I got my song.
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Because -- I was an indifferent guitar player.
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I banged the chords.
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I only knew a few of them.
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One day in the early '60s, I was visiting my mother’s house in Montreal.
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I loved the way he played.
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There was something about the way he played that -- that captured me.
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It was the way I wanted to play -- and knew that I would never be able to play.
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He didn’t speak English.
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And he agreed to give me guitar lessons.
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He said, “You don’t know how to play, do you?"
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It’s -- It's all out of tune.” So he took the guitar, and -- and he tuned it.
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He said, "It’s not a bad guitar."
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It -- It wasn’t the Conde, but it wasn’t a bad guitar.
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So he handed it back to me.
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He said, “Now play.” [I] couldn’t play any better.
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He said "Let me show you some chords."
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And he took the guitar and he produced a sound from that guitar that I'd never heard.
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And he -- he played a sequence of chords with a tremolo, and he said, "Now you do it."
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I said, "It’s out of the question.
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I can’t possibly do it."
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He said, "Let me put your fingers on the frets."
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And he -- he put my fingers on the frets.
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And he said, "Now, now play."
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It -- It was a mess.
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He said, "I’ll come back tomorrow.“ He came back tomorrow.
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He put my hands on the guitar.
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I was a little better that day.
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The third day -- improved, somewhat improved.
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But I knew the chords now.
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The next day, he didn’t come.
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He didn’t come.
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I had the number of his -- of his boarding house in Montreal.
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I knew nothing about the man.
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I -- I did not know what part of Spain he came from.
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I did not know why he came to Montreal.
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I did not know why he stayed there.
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I did not know why he he appeared there in that tennis court.
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I did not know why he took his life.
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I -- I was deeply saddened, of course.
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But now I disclose something that I’ve never spoken in public.
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So now you will begin to understand the dimensions of the gratitude I have for this country.
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Everything that you have found favorable in my work comes from this place.
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Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.
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CommeuneTexane • 1659  commented on  unit 82  11 months, 1 week ago
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sitesurf • 405  commented on  unit 8  11 months, 1 week ago

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/leonardcohenhowigotmysong.htm.

Leonard Cohen.

How I Got My Song Address at the Prince Asturias Awards.

Delivered 21 October 2011.

It is a great honor to stand here before you tonight. Perhaps, like the great maestro, Riccardo Muti, I am not used to standing in front of an audience without an orchestra behind me, but I will do my best as a solo artist tonight.

I stayed up all night last night wondering what I might say to this august assembly. And after I had eaten all the chocolate bars and peanuts in the mini-bar, I scribbled a few words. I don’t think I have to refer to them. Obviously, I am deeply touched to be recognized by the Foundation. But I've come here tonight to express another dimension of gratitude. I think I can do it in three or four minutes -- and I will try.

When I was packing in Los Angeles to come here, I had a sense of unease because I’ve always felt some ambiguity about an award for poetry. Poetry comes from a place that no one commands and no one conquers. So I feel somewhat like a charlatan to accept an award for an activity which I do not command. In other words, if I knew where the good songs came from I'd go there more often.

I was compelled in the midst of that ordeal of packing to go and open my guitar. I have a Conde guitar, which was made in Spain in the great workshop at Number 7 Gravina Street; a beautiful instrument that I acquired over 40 years ago. I took it out of the case and I lifted it. It seemed to be filled with helium -- it was so light. And I brought it to my face. I put my face close to the beautifully designed rosette, and I inhaled the fragrance of the living wood. You know that wood never dies.

I inhaled the fragrance of cedar as fresh as the first day that I acquired the guitar. And a voice seemed to say to me, "You are an old man and you have not said thank you; you have not brought your gratitude back to the soil from which this fragrance arose." And so I come here tonight to thank the soil and the soul of this people that has given me so much -- because I know just as an identity card is not a man, a credit rating is not a country.

Now, you know of my deep association and confraternity with the poet Federico Garcia Lorca. I could say that when I was a young man, an adolescent, and I hungered for a voice, I studied the English poets and I knew their work well, and I copied their styles, but I could not find a voice. It was only when -- when I read, even in translation, the works of Lorca that I understood that there was a voice. It is not that I copied his voice; I would not dare. But he gave me permission to find a voice, to locate a voice; that is, to locate a self, a self that that is not fixed, a self that struggles for its own existence.

And as I grew older I understood that instructions came with this voice. What were these instructions? The instructions were never to lament casually. And if one is to express the great inevitable defeat that awaits us all, it must be done within the strict confines of dignity and beauty.
And so I had a voice, but I did not have an instrument. I did not have a song.

And now I’m going to tell you very briefly a story of how I got my song.
Because -- I was an indifferent guitar player. I banged the chords. I only knew a few of them. I sat around with my college friends, drinking and singing the folk songs, or the popular songs of the day, but I never in a thousand years thought of myself as a musician or as a singer.

One day in the early '60s, I was visiting my mother’s house in Montreal. The house is beside a park and in the park there's a tennis court where many people come to watch the beautiful young tennis players enjoy their sport. I wandered back to this park which I’d known since my childhood, and there was a young man playing a guitar. He was playing a flamenco guitar, and he was surrounded by two or three girls and boys who were listening to him. I loved the way he played. There was something about the way he played that -- that captured me.

It was the way I wanted to play -- and knew that I would never be able to play.

And I sat there with the other listeners for a few moments and when there was a -- a silence, an appropriate silence, I asked him if he would give me guitar lessons. He was a young man from Spain, and we could only communicate in my broken French and his broken French. He didn’t speak English. And he agreed to give me guitar lessons. I pointed to my mother’s house which you could see from the tennis court, and we made an appointment; we settled the price.

And he came to my mother’s house the next day and he said, “Let me hear you play something.” I tried to play something. He said, “You don’t know how to play, do you?" I -- I said, “No, I really don’t know how to play.” He said, "First of all, let me tune your guitar. It’s -- It's all out of tune.” So he took the guitar, and -- and he tuned it. He said, "It’s not a bad guitar." It -- It wasn’t the Conde, but it wasn’t a bad guitar. So he handed it back to me. He said, “Now play.”

[I] couldn’t play any better.

He said "Let me show you some chords." And he took the guitar and he produced a sound from that guitar that I'd never heard. And he -- he played a sequence of chords with a tremolo, and he said, "Now you do it." I said, "It’s out of the question. I can’t possibly do it." He said, "Let me put your fingers on the frets." And he -- he put my fingers on the frets. And he said, "Now, now play." It -- It was a mess. He said, "I’ll come back tomorrow.“

He came back tomorrow. He put my hands on the guitar. He -- He placed it on my lap in the way that was appropriate, and I began again with those six chords -- six chord progression that many, many flamenco songs are based on.

I was a little better that day.

The third day -- improved, somewhat improved. But I knew the chords now. And I knew that although I couldn’t coordinate my fingers with my thumb to produce the correct tremolo pattern, I knew the chords -- I knew them very, very well by this point.

The next day, he didn’t come. He didn’t come. I had the number of his -- of his boarding house in Montreal. I phoned to find out why he had missed the appointment, and they told me that he'd taken his life -- that he committed suicide. I knew nothing about the man. I -- I did not know what part of Spain he came from. I did not know why he came to Montreal. I did not know why he stayed there. I did not know why he he appeared there in that tennis court. I did not know why he took his life. I -- I was deeply saddened, of course.

But now I disclose something that I’ve never spoken in public. It was those six chords -- it was that guitar pattern that has been the basis of all my songs and all my music.

So now you will begin to understand the dimensions of the gratitude I have for this country.

Everything that you have found favorable in my work comes from this place.

Everything, everything that you have found favorable in my songs and my poetry are inspired by this soil.

So I thank you so much for the warm hospitality that you have shown my work because it is really yours, and you have allowed me to affix my signature to the bottom of the page.

Thank you so much, ladies and gentlemen.