Haleliwia!
November 7, 2008 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Following in the footsteps of (fellow Welshman) John Cale, Jeff Buckley, kd lang, Sheryl Crow, Bon Jovi, et al, Welsh band Brygin have been given permission by Leonard Cohen (touring for the first time in 15 years and in Cardiff tomorrow night) to release their Welsh language version of Hallelujah. Lyrics for those wishing to sing along and compare to the original.
posted by ceri richard (31 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
The lyrics (in translation) are spine-shiveringly evocative: an intersection between old U2 and Yeats. Well done.
posted by zoomorphic at 6:53 AM on November 7, 2008


Oddly, I have heard lots of Welsh music live - my alma mater has a rich Welsh history program, including a choir that regularly sings Welsh hymns and folksongs at their performances.

I mention this as relevant in that it is likely rare that an American audience has a chance to hear Welsh music live. Even without knowing what is being said, the music is eminently enjoyable.
posted by angry jonny at 7:19 AM on November 7, 2008


You should totally listen to this (depending on your geographical location)

And really? You liked those lyrics? I know that it has to change somewhat in translation, but it's not supposed to be a happy song. It's certainly not supposed to be a hopeful song.

I just found those platiutudes about peace, hope and that crowbarred refence to Palestine...disgusting.

I like my Hallelujah like I like my heart. Cold and broken.
posted by Jofus at 7:22 AM on November 7, 2008 [4 favorites]


Sure, go ahead and rewrite Leonard Cohen lyrics. If you're Bob Dylan.
posted by Nahum Tate at 7:26 AM on November 7, 2008


He may have his blessing, but no one needs permission to cover a song, they just have to pay standard royalties. Synchronization rights, for use in a movie or music video is another story.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:27 AM on November 7, 2008


Not much relation, and perhaps more disturbing.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:28 AM on November 7, 2008


I can't believe this was in Shrek. I mean I saw the movie, but I really didn't pay attention to it.
Might it be that this was an alternate version of Shrek?
posted by doctorschlock at 7:35 AM on November 7, 2008


I don't get it. Why write fucking dreadful new lyrics in Welsh, instead of translating Cohen's lyrics into Welsh?

StickyCarpet wrote: He may have his blessing, but no one needs permission to cover a song, they just have to pay standard royalties. Synchronization rights, for use in a movie or music video is another story.

Maybe it's different when you're not doing a cover, but setting a new song to someone else's tune?
posted by jack_mo at 7:42 AM on November 7, 2008


Also, I see that the writer of the new lyrics has either chosen to remain anonymous, or has been completely stiffed by the band.

Still, at least it sounds nice. I wish you hadn't linked to the lyrics, ceri!
posted by jack_mo at 7:44 AM on November 7, 2008


doctorschlock: Here's the relevant clip.
posted by jedicus at 7:46 AM on November 7, 2008


Maybe it's different when you're not doing a cover, but setting a new song to someone else's tune?

Comes under the parody and satire provision?
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:49 AM on November 7, 2008


Thanks Jedicus! I'm gettin' old. I must have fallen asleep or sumtin', but I did get to meet Mr. Cohen a few years ago. I thanked him.
posted by doctorschlock at 7:51 AM on November 7, 2008


This post is very special to me, because on this week of celebrating the breaking-down of racial divides, I've felt a yearning to celebrate my own ethnicity. It's one that never makes the news, has no celebrity heroes, and had no any culture to call its own - at least until today, when someone mashed up Leonard Cohen and the Welsh language. I am a Welsh-Canadian.

My hard drive is full of Leonard Cohen and male voice choirs. In fact, I was bitterly disappointed to see that this was not a Welsh male voice choir singing Hallelujah like a lament for the coal mines. One of the interesting properties of Welsh male voice choirs is that they are inveterate cover artists. It's hard to get through an album or a performance without hearing, for instance, a hundred golden-voiced Welsh pensionners belting out "Bohemian Rhapsody." My personal favourite, though, is the Morriston Orpheous' recording of "I Can't Help Falling in Love With You." Highly recommended, whatever your heritage.
posted by bicyclefish at 7:57 AM on November 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


And really? You liked those lyrics?

I put an embargo on my prosaic cynicism for one week while I revel in the heady lovefest of an Obama victory. By Sunday I'll be peeling through my mom's CD rack for her "Les Miz" soundtrack.
posted by zoomorphic at 8:00 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Wow, those new lyrics are quite a combination of hubris and mediocrity.
posted by RussHy at 8:08 AM on November 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


He may have his blessing, but no one needs permission to cover a song, they just have to pay standard royalties. Synchronization rights, for use in a movie or music video is another story.

Not quite, StickyCarpet. Although you may cover a tune and pay the royalties without the blessing of the copyright owner, you may NOT rewrite and records the lyrics without specific permission and a specific licensing agreement with the copyright owner (except for parody or satire, which this is obviously not).
posted by Aquaman at 8:23 AM on November 7, 2008


I say yuck to the new lyrics. Well, they're fine for their intended purpose, but if you want to write a hymn, write a hymn, and write your own damn music.
posted by desuetude at 8:43 AM on November 7, 2008


With lyrics like those, this isn't Hallelujah. It's Welsh Leonard Cohen filk.
posted by Spatch at 8:44 AM on November 7, 2008


*registers welshleonardcohenfilk.com*
posted by cortex at 8:46 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Are we sure he wasn't actually singing in ROT-13?
posted by sourwookie at 9:15 AM on November 7, 2008


My hard drive is full of Leonard Cohen and male voice choirs.

I'm doing a mash-up of the Beach Boys and a male voice choir. It's called Help Me Cwm Rhondda.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:16 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Peter McDermott, that is terrible.

(That said, anyone who wants to keep recommending good Welsh music -- whether it be modern stuff or men's choirs or anything in between -- please go ahead :) There's such a long, amazing history from the bards to the eisteddfodd, and I'd love to have more stuff to listen to.)
posted by kalimac at 9:26 AM on November 7, 2008


good Welsh music -- whether it be modern stuff

Brave New Wales is about as modern as it gets.
posted by spandex at 9:37 AM on November 7, 2008


Why is Cohen on tour in Cardiff in November? He's like 80 isn't he?
posted by A189Nut at 10:37 AM on November 7, 2008


spandex wrote: good Welsh music -- whether it be modern stuff

Brave New Wales is about as modern as it gets.


Spandex linking to nylon's record label? Manmadefibreponysterical!
posted by jack_mo at 10:50 AM on November 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


This song has gone through many transformations...here is is in Japanese/German/Ebonics/wtf
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:01 PM on November 7, 2008


Wait, writing a hymn about Palestine to the tune of a Leonard Cohen song and then singing it in WELSH?

There are so many levels of this I don't understand. But I liked the video.

Also: Welsh just looks like it shouldn't be.
Mae weiran bigog gylch y crud
It looks more like Elvish, or maybe Dwarvish than any actual HUMAN language.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:08 PM on November 7, 2008


Might it be that this was an alternate version of Shrek?

Fun fact is that the version in the movie was John Cale's, but the version on the soundtrack was by Rufus Wrainwright.
posted by smackfu at 4:22 PM on November 7, 2008


My favorite version. Don't see it linked, but don't see how it can't be.

(It's still best in it's original Klingon.)
posted by cjorgensen at 7:53 PM on November 7, 2008


sorry about the misplaced apostrophe <hangs head in shame />
posted by cjorgensen at 7:58 PM on November 7, 2008


Why is Cohen on tour in Cardiff in November? He's like 80 isn't he?

Because his evil business manager sold off his copyrights while he was in the monastery. So go see him play and buy four t-shirts, eh?
posted by Scram at 8:21 AM on November 9, 2008


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