Geoffrey Oreyama’s Cover Of “Suzanne” Is On Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox

Biggest Influence on My Music

The jukebox. I lived beside jukeboxes all through the fifties. There was “The Great Pretender,” “Cross Over the Road.” I never knew who was singing. I never followed things that way. I still don’t. I wasn’t a student of music; I was a student of the restaurant I was in — and the waitresses. The music was a part of it. I knew what number the song was.

Leonard Cohen1

Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox: Over the years, Leonard Cohen mentioned a number of specific songs he favored. Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox is a Cohencentric feature that began collecting these tunes for the edification and entertainment of viewers on April 4, 2009. All posts in the Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox series can be found at The Original Leonard Cohen’s Jukebox Page.

Suzanne Cover Gives Leonard Cohen A Good Feeling

This excerpt from Porridge? Lozenge? Syringe? by Adrian Deevoy (The Q Magazine, 1991), describes a conversation taking place between the author and Cohen while music from the tribute album, I’m Your Fan, plays in the background:

As That Petrol Emotion launch into Stories Of The Street, he [Leonard Cohen] finally cracks. “Hey, we’re really going to have to take this down. It’s such an exquisite distraction.” He turns the volume right down. “We’ll try it as background music, although my guess is that it’ll make it more tantalising.” All goes swimmingly until the opening phrases of Suzanne stop Cohen in his tracks. “Who’s singing this?” he asks.

It is Geoffrey Oreyama, who is signed to Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. Cohen squints toward the hi-fi.

“When you hear a guy singing a song like this, which you wrote before he was born, it gives you a good feeling.” He is genuinely choked with emotion. He takes a deep breath. “This isn’t a casual moment for me.”

Oreyama is an Ugandan musician who sings in Swahili and Acholi as well as French and English.

Geoffrey Oreyama – Suzanne

I am republishing selected posts from my former Leonard Cohen site, Cohencentric, here on (these posts can be found at Leonard Cohen). This entry was originally posted Jan 1, 2010 at, a predecessor of Cohencentric.


  1. Yakety Yak by Scott Cohen, 1994 []

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