Marilyn Ambach, who worked as a production assistant on the Leonard Cohen Tour, is featured in Tegen Leonard Cohen zeg je niet nee [Google Translate: “You Don’t Say No To Leonard Cohen”] by Inge Schelstraete in the Dec 29, 2012 issue of De Standaard.
Translation issues notwithstanding, the entire article is a worthwhile read for its insider’s view of the Tour’s behind the scenes operations and Marilyn’s personal insight into Leonard Cohen. Excerpts via Google Translate follow:
“On July 1, 2010, I received a phone call from Cohen’s people: Would you go on our next tour? It was not my ambition to travel around the world – when I saw roadies, I always thought: life for months in a suitcase – that’s not for me. But my shows in Tel Aviv were finished and I work freelance. If there are no concerts, I organize events.”
“So I thought … No, I thought not. You do not say no to Leonard Cohen, especially if you are chosen from the another part of the world. His performance in Tel Aviv was … indescribable. In Belgium, we are, in terms of concert offerings, spoiled. This is not so in Israel. The people know that you are not in Israel because you happen to be in the neighborhood. Israel is not loved, it’s hard to get here.”
“The concert of Cohen had an extra dimension. He sang the Hebrew prayer of the Kohanim, the caste from which its name is derived. He might be a Buddhist, but he remains Jewish. Anyway, there was something mystical about that concert.”
… “Now, if you would do a survey in showbiz, Cohen is top of the top of unpretentious people. With us there was no difference between the star and the people. Leonard Cohen carries his guitar itself. As a Buddhist, he is totally unattached to material things: he does not demand suites. He will never say, “That person is working for me.” He says: “This is my colleague’.’
“This creates a kind of … gratitude. The feeling that we are working for someone who is intrinsically good. ‘Camp Cohen,’ as we called it. His zen radiates through the entire team, from the technicians to managers. With Cohen, I have the deepest conversations, about Freud, about life … He is the ideal grandfather, psychoanalyst and rabbi. And he is perhaps not so young, but still the most beautiful man in the world. I will not forget how hard I had on that tour and how much I missed my comfort zone, but it is an experience which I am very grateful.”
Marilyn Ambach’s Leonard Cohen story along with many photos (see sample above) can be found at Marilyn & Camp Cohen.
Credit Due Department: Both photos in this post were taken by Joey Carenza.
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 Dec 29, 2012 at 1HeckOfAGuy.com.