Aleluya: Leonard Cohen en Espanol
Watch Draco Rosa, Bunbury, Il Divo, Morente and more Latin artists cover Cohen
Leonard Cohen was awarded Spain’s national prize for literature, the Premio Príncipe de Asturias de las Letras, in 2011; he has been a signpost for Spanish artists for decades.
With flamenco musicians, most notably the great Enrique Morente, who created a seminal album around his work, Cohen shared a passion for the poetry of Federico Garcia Lorca. Spanish rockers, following his revolutionary call, have translated and performed his songs. Latin American singer-songwriters have also acknowledged Cohen’s influence in tributes. And, of course, the universal “Hallelujah” has also become a standard in its Spanish-language version, “Aleluya.”
Here, as people everywhere remember Cohen after news of his death broke on Nov. 10, listen to these tributes by Latin artists.
Draco Rosa, “Aleluya”
Draco Rosa was defying death’s call when he sang this keening version of “Hallelujah.” He was still being treated for Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma when the Grammy-winning rocker gave a stunning concert in Puerto Rico in 2012.
José Feliciano and Jencarlos Canela, “Aleluya”
Cuban-American idol Jencarlos Canela teamed up with crossover pioneer José Feliciano for this acoustic version of “Aleluya,” included on Canela’s album Un Nuevo Día.
Enrique Morente and Lagartija Nick, “Manhattan”
Flamenco rebel Enrique Morente and punk band Lagartija Nick’s version of “First We Take Manhattan” is one of the most emblematic track’s from their milestone album Omega.
Il Divo, “Hallelujah (Alelujah)”
The members of Il Divo recorded a version of “Hallelujah” with their usual romantic operatic flair.
Jorge Drexler, “Dance Me to the End of Love”
Drexler, singing in English, brings a South American folkloric tinge to Cohen’s “Dance Me to the End of Love” in this performance.
Silvia Perez Cruz and Raul Fernandez, “Pequeño Vals Vienes”
The Catalan duo Silvia Perez Cruz and Raul Fernandez recorded a sublime version of “Take This Waltz,” which Cohen adapted from Lorca’s poem “Pequeño Vals Vienes.”
Duquende, “Gypsy Wife”
Spain’s Duquende brings “Gypsy Wife” home in this flamenco version of Cohen’s song.
Nacho Vegas, “Canción El Extranjero”
Spanish singer/songwriter Nacho Vegas recorded this emotional, talk-singing adaption of “The Stranger.”
Enrique Bunbury, "Who By Fire"
Cohen fan Bunbury performs a stark, piano-accompanied version of "Who By Fire" in English.
Joaquin Sabina, “Pie de Guerra”
Cohen’s music has been gospel for Spain’s folk-rock pilar Joaquin Sabina, who translated every song on Cohen’s Old Ideas for the liner notes of the album’s edition in Spain. Here Sabina sings his version of “There is a War.”
Escuela Internacional de Música Students, “Hallelujah”
This past September, students at Spain’s International Music School carried the torch with a performance of “Hallelujah” on the streets of Oviedo.