“Perla Batalla in The House of Cohen” at Caltech Beckman Auditorium is located at 332 S. Michigan Avenue, Pasadena.
Leonard Cohen is the world’s poet. His death in 2016 was a pain felt everywhere and his songs have added solace and meaning and grace to all our lives…they still do.
Perla Batalla has a unique connection to him and his work. She was one of his rather iconic backup singers for many years and toured with him extensively. It was Cohen who encouraged her to develop and record her own music, in fact. Now, with this tour of his beautiful songs, Perla Batalla is saying “thank you and I love you,” and it’s stunning.
Perla Batalla is a gloriously rich mixture of backgrounds and she brings them with her to the stage, with her gorgeous voice full of love, life, mournfulness and joy. It’s a heady combination and one that works to perfection with Cohen’s particular gifts.
Between songs, she tells tales of her life with him. Anecdotes from both their lives and the meaning behind the songs she selected to sing. “Bird on a Wire,” “Hallelujah,” “Suzanne,” “The Sisters of Mercy,” “So Long Marianne,” “Famous Blue Raincoa – all the very best and most heartbreaking of Cohen’s songs. She performs them with very much her own arrangements, slower than he sang them, and with passion, nuance and operatic range. The band is like melodic angels around her, just incredible musicians providing vocals when needed and phenomenal piano, bass guitar, percussion and acoustic guitar and beautiful oud…something to be heard to be believed!
It was a wonderful evening spent with artists of the highest caliber all deeply committed to giving Leonard Cohen’s songs the attention they so dearly deserve.
He was a god amongst us and Perla Batalla tends to his songs with the kind of reverence and love that only one he loved and shared so much with ever could. She is truly a revelation.
If you miss him, as we all do, then go to her website and see where and when you can attend a show, Drive, fly, take a train…do whatever you need to do, but get there.