I don’t know much about you [Helsinki concert audience]. I know that there are 126 members of your Parliament that are not socialists and 76 that are. It’s not much to know about anybody. I know that you have 0.11 percent of the world gross product. That’s a lot for a country your size, but that’s not enough to know. I know that your President is a Doctor of Philosophy, that’s impressive, but it really does not help us get through the night. I know that you’re a heroic people and except for the Afghanis, you’re the only one who resisted the Soviet Union. Mostly, I know that you live in winter like I do. I wrote this next song under the inspiration, under the fatherly guidance of Federico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish poet. He never came to Helsinki. Doesn’t matter, ’cause I’m here now. And I bring you the greetings of the South even though I am frozen to death in the north. It is one of those things that I know how to do.
Leonard Cohen’s introduction to “Take This Waltz” from the April 28, 1988 concert at Jaahalli Helsinki, Finland
Cohencentric published several posts about Leonard Cohen’s Take This Waltz being based on his translation of Pequeño Vals Vienès by Federico García Lorca:
- “When I started the thing, I didn’t realize I had taken my first step on a walk to China.” Leonard Cohen On His Traumatic Translation Of Federico Garcia Lorca’s Poem For Take This Waltz
- “Lorca is one of those rare poets with whom you can stay in love for life.” Leonard Cohen On Federico Garcia Lorca
- Video: The Original 1986 “Take This Waltz” By Leonard Cohen
- Compare Leonard Cohen’s “Take This Waltz” To A Conventional English Translation Of Federico García Lorca’s “Pequeno Vals Vienés”
- “I wrote this next song under the inspiration, under the fatherly guidance of Federico Garcia Lorca, the great Spanish poet. He never came to Helsinki. Doesn’t matter, ’cause I’m here now.” Leonard Cohen Tells 1988 Helsinki Concert Audience 5 Things He Knows About Finland
I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on AllanShowalter.com (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted October 31, 2014 at DrHGuy.com, a predecessor of Cohencentric.