Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe have teamed up to deliver a fresh take on Leonard Cohen’s classic 1974 track, “Who by Fire.” This collaboration marks a significant musical moment for both artists, with Orton making her return to music after her 2022 release, “Weather Alive,” and Skinny Pelembe following up on his second album, “Hardly the Same Snake,” which dropped earlier this spring, following his 2019 debut LP, “Dreaming Is Dead Now.”
The serendipitous encounter between these Partisan labelmates occurred at Glastonbury this summer, amidst their performances on the West Holts Stage. The cover project emerged from a shared appreciation for Cohen’s enigmatic work.
Beth Orton, reflecting on her connection to Leonard Cohen’s music, stated, “I have always felt connected to the work of Leonard Cohen. I toured ‘I’m Your Man’ with an amazing cast of people, and every night I was intrigued by the mystery of ‘Who By Fire.’ I was never totally satisfied that I understood the song.” However, when Skinny Pelembe, also known as Doya, sent her his rendition, Orton was captivated by the Serge Gainsbourg-inspired drumming and the overall atmosphere of the cover. She appreciated the audacious and punk-like spirit of this version, and with the studio in Paris at her disposal, she embraced Doya’s reinterpretation without hesitation. In doing so, she delved into the song’s lyrics, discovering a renewed focus on its profound exploration of human nature’s passion and heartbreaking inevitability, a theme that Leonard Cohen masterfully captures like no other.
Skinny Pelembe added his perspective on the collaboration, revealing the origins of the project. “When I signed to Partisan, I remember having a conversation with Tim, who founded the label, about whether Partisan was named after the Leonard Cohen song, ‘The Partisan.’ He confirmed it was.” This serendipitous connection to Cohen’s work was further fueled by a recent studio session with Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics, which left him with a surplus of exceptional beats from his album. With Leonard Cohen on his mind and Malcolm’s rhythmic creations echoing in his subconscious, the stars aligned this summer when he approached Beth Orton to lend her vocals to the project. Orton’s contribution was nothing short of remarkable, providing a plethora of outstanding vocal takes, all of which were infused with her unique brilliance. As a result, Skinny Pelembe decided to preserve and incorporate all of them into the final rendition of “Who by Fire.”
This unexpected and delightful collaboration between Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe promises to breathe new life into Leonard Cohen’s timeless work, infusing it with their own creative energy and interpretation. Music enthusiasts and Cohen fans alike are in for a treat as they explore this fresh rendition of a classic song that continues to resonate with the complexities of the human experience.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Collaboration
What is the significance of Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”?
Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe’s cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire” holds significance as a creative collaboration between two talented artists from the Partisan label. It represents a unique reinterpretation of a classic song that explores the depth of human nature. Beth Orton’s return to music after her 2022 release, “Weather Alive,” and Skinny Pelembe’s latest album, “Hardly the Same Snake,” make this collaboration a noteworthy musical event.
How did the collaboration between Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe come about?
The collaboration between Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe emerged serendipitously at the Glastonbury festival during the summer. They met while performing on the West Holts Stage, and their shared admiration for Leonard Cohen’s work led to the idea of covering “Who by Fire.” Skinny Pelembe had been influenced by Cohen’s music and had Malcolm Catto’s beats from a recent studio session in mind, further igniting his passion for this project.
What inspired Beth Orton’s interest in covering Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”?
Beth Orton’s fascination with Leonard Cohen’s music dates back to her involvement in the tour of “I’m Your Man,” where she was surrounded by an exceptional cast of artists. During the tour, she was captivated by the enigmatic nature of “Who By Fire” but felt that she hadn’t fully grasped its meaning. However, when she heard Skinny Pelembe’s version of the song, she was drawn to its unique qualities, including Serge Gainsbourg-inspired drumming and a cheeky, punk-like spirit. This inspired her to embrace the project, allowing her to explore the song’s lyrics in a new light and appreciate Leonard Cohen’s unparalleled ability to capture the essence of human nature.
What can listeners expect from this cover of “Who by Fire”?
Listeners can anticipate a fresh and inventive interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire.” The collaboration between Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe infuses the song with their own creative energy and unique perspective. Orton’s vocals, combined with Skinny Pelembe’s musical vision and the influence of Malcolm Catto’s beats, promise to offer a captivating and engaging experience. The cover breathes new life into a timeless classic, making it a must-listen for music enthusiasts and Cohen fans alike.
How did Skinny Pelembe incorporate Beth Orton’s vocals into the cover?
Skinny Pelembe, also known as Doya, approached Beth Orton to contribute her vocals to the project. Orton enthusiastically provided a range of exceptional vocal takes, showcasing her artistic brilliance. Rather than choosing one, Skinny Pelembe decided to incorporate all of them into the final rendition of “Who by Fire,” resulting in a rich and layered vocal performance that complements the song’s overall atmosphere and creative vision.
What themes are explored in Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”?
Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire” is known for its profound exploration of the complexities of human nature, passion, and the inevitable aspects of life and death. Beth Orton’s and Skinny Pelembe’s reinterpretation of the song brings these themes into new focus, offering listeners a fresh perspective on Cohen’s lyrical genius and his ability to capture the heartbreak and inevitability of the human experience through music.
More about Collaboration
- Beth Orton
- Skinny Pelembe
- Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”
- Partisan Records
- “Weather Alive” by Beth Orton
- “Hardly the Same Snake” by Skinny Pelembe
- “Dreaming Is Dead Now” by Skinny Pelembe
- Glastonbury Festival
- Serge Gainsbourg
- Malcolm Catto
- “I’m Your Man” by Leonard Cohen
- “The Partisan” by Leonard Cohen
- Music Industry
- Artistic Expression