A musical friendship | TheUnion.com

A musical friendship

Perla Batella's first Leonard Cohen album called, "Bird on the Wire" was produced by Cohen where he weighed-in on arrangements and material.
Submitted photo to Prospector |


WHO: The Center for the Arts presents

WHAT: Perla Batalla in the House of Cohen

WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: The Center for the Arts

314 W Main St., Grass Valley

TICKETS: $37 members, $42 general public

The Center Box Office - 530-274-8384 ext 14

BriarPatch Co-op Community Market - 530-272-5333

Tickets online at http://www.thecenterforthearts.org

WEBPAGE: http://www.thecenterforthearts.org





Grammy nominated singer-songwriter and former Leonard Cohen band member Perla Batalla returns to The Center for the Arts with her touring show featuring Cohen’s music.

In 2015 Batalla began pondering songs to include in a follow-up CD to her 2007 tribute release to friend and mentor Cohen.

As a longtime singer and touring band member with the legendary songwriter, Batalla knew there was much of Cohen’s body of work she still wanted to perform and record.

Batalla’s first Cohen CD, “Bird on the Wire” was produced with Leonard’s blessing; he attended the recording session, weighed-in on material, arrangements, and uncharacteristically participated in a photo session at his Los Angeles home to promote the project.

“Leonard was having so much fun — at the last minute he ran to his closet for a silk ascot to look more suave in the photos!” Batalla said.

Cohen’s passing in November 2016 reaffirmed Batalla’s mission of sharing the lesser-known songs of Canada’s poet laureate to a younger public mostly familiar with the well-covered, “Hallelujah.”

She also wanted to dispel the too common mischaracterization of Cohen as “The Godfather of Gloom.”

The man she knew was more often than not, motivated by sly humor and absurdity.

Batalla in the House of Cohen features selected songs and rare personal anecdotes that serve to reveal Cohen’s lighter side (like Cohen’s deep affection for the .99 Cent Store and his delight at dining on hot dogs at Home Depot).

The evening reveals the timelessness of Cohen’s art through Batalla’s signature cross-cultural style, to convey her sincere respect and deep love for the music, the poetry, and most of all for her dear friend, Cohen.

“In this show, there are times when I ask my audience to sing with me,” Batalla said. “I feel that the coming together of voices has the power to touch Leonard’s spirit and his lifelong devotion to art and the mysteries of the human heart.

“Live music is about being in the moment, and I always have this secret expectation that as we lift our voices up together we will feel Leonard all around us … and we usually do …”

Batalla consistently earns critical acclaim for her unique voice and culture-merging compositions.

The Los Angeles born vocalist launched her solo career with Cohen’s encouragement. Since then she’s recorded seven albums, been featured in films and television, and taken her unique sound on tour to some of the most prestigious venues around the world.

The L.A. times writes, “Batalla is comfortable in both English and Spanish, proud of her Mestiza heritage, musically adventurous and always accompanied by impeccable performers … above all, she is a born storyteller with a rambunctious sense of humor.”

Batalla’s mission of honoring her roots and exposing young audiences to the beauty of music and the Spanish language is ongoing in her outreach endeavors throughout some of the poorest communities in the United States.

She is the recipient of the United Nation’s Earth Charter Award for “extraordinary devotion to social and economic justice” and the Premio Fronterizo Award for “healing work in the world.”

Batalla was born to a family immersed in music; her father, a Mexican singer and radio personality, and an Argentine mother who ran a bustling record store called Discoteca Batalla.

At the family record shop, literally at her mother’s knee, Batalla was exposed to an education of non-stop music that cut across genre and language.

While her far-ranging influences are reflected in the eclectic choices of songs she writes, arranges and performs today, it is that voice that brings each song to a new light.

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