"It's, as I say, a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.... It's a rather joyous song," says Leonard Cohen, creator of the song, Hallelujah: "I wanted to write something in the tradition of the hallelujah choruses but from a different point of view... It's the notion that there is no perfection ~ that this is a broken world and we live with broken hearts and broken lives but still that is no alibi for anything. On the contrary, you have to stand up and say hallelujah under those circumstances."
Canadian musician Allison Crowe's uniquely potent interpretation is heard on her album/CD, "Tidings":
Allison Crowe's live take on Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" so redefined an approach to the song it was plenty controversial in the early part of this century. Once that dam burst, and hundreds of covers poured forth, Crowe's version took its place as a much-loved, classic, interpretation.
The song's marching into the mainstream with American Idol's Jason Castro, Lee DeWyze and by UK X Factor winner Alexandra Burke, Dutch X Factor champ Lisa Hordijk, Polish Idol's Kasia Popowska, The Voice's Nicole Nelson, New Jersey rocker Bon Jovi, and Battle of the Blades' skater Claude Lemieux. This popularizing continues - with Maddy Curtis, auditioning in 2010 for AI, then Matt Morris and Justin Timberlake duetting at the Hope for Haiti event, followed by Céline Dion w. Canadian Tenors on Oprah Winfrey - prelude to the 2010 Olympics opening ceremony version by kd lang. Opera's Renee Fleming and singer-actress Jennifer Hudson are among the recent to record Hallelujah. Steven Page sang it at a state funeral for Canadian politician Jack Layton in Summer 2011. In 2012, Allison Crowe performs "Hallelujah" with Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet for "The Doorway" - choreographed by Jorden Morris. It's subject for an entire book, "The Holy or the Broken", by Alan Light. In 2013, X Factor's Hannah Barrett, Ice Show's Florent Torres and more...
Leonard Cohen is inspiring audiences with his own revitalized take - witness Glastonbury 2008 to his newest concerts.
"It's not hard to see why Crowe's Hallelujah -- recorded in a single take -- is popular. It's one of Leonard Cohen's most affecting songs, and the 26-year-old, accompanying herself on piano, makes it her own with raw honesty and formidable vocal power. It's simultaneously heart-breaking and redemptive, and it has captured the imaginations of people around the world. 'The song itself is just so emotionally resonant,' Crowe said modestly this week." ~ Adrian Chamberlain, Times Colonist (Canada)
"Bet you thought you heard all the versions you need to hear of this song, right? Think again, because Allison Crowe has a voice to fall in love with. She is from Vancouver Island in Canada, descended from Scottish, Irish, and Manx stock. She's exactly the sort of artist who can make serious headway on her own label and that's just what she's doing." ~ Record of the Day (UK)
"Simply, a song so beautiful (Hallelujah) has never been sung so beautifully." ~ We Write Lists (UK)
"I originally had a different version of 'Hallelujah' on that scene (Nite Owl II and Silk Spectre II) - it was the version by Allison Crowe, and it was really beautiful. Too beautiful, as it turned out..." Zack Snyder, Director, Watchmen movie
"Hallelujah, by Leonard Cohen. This song has somehow become Crowe's signature, if a singer who defies description as stubbornly as she does has a signature... Cohen's original version is a spoken poem, all of the meaning contained in the words. Crowe's version is a living thing, a meditation and a celebration and a benediction." ~ anacronym (Canada)
"Crowe's warm, natural, passionate - and need I add lovely? - voice are perhaps shown to best effect on another glorious standard, Leonard Cohen's magnificent and deeply spiritual quest for faith, Hallelujah." ~ Martin Levin, Women's Post (Canada)
"j'ai rarement été bouleversée à ce point par une voix féminine. Pure comme de la glace, puissante et même violente sur la reprise de l'Hallelujah de Leonard Cohen." ~ SplinterMuse (France)
"(Jeff) Buckley especially just blew the song to pieces and every artist after him has tried and failed to put it back together. Until now. Allison Crowe manages to pump 'Hallelujah' full of all the soaring vocals and raw emotion that it requires. And the result is a big beautiful lump in the throat." ~ Muruch (USA)
Allison Crowe is featured in a MOJO magazine CD tribute to Leonard Cohen, featuring covers by Judy Collins, Martha Wainwright, Nick Cave, Katie Melua and others. MOJO says Crowe's "famously described... as possessing a style akin to 'Elton John meets Edith Piaf'."
Audio engineer/producer: Larry Anschell. Filming directed and produced by Alex Postowoi. Cameras: Karen Duthie, Randy Rotheisler. Editor: Shirley Claydon. Interviewer: Steven Rosenberg.