Wicklow People (Arklow) - - NEWS - By MYLES BUCHANAN

A LEONARD Co­hen trib­ute night set to take place in Wick­low town will raise funds for Wick­low Can­cer Sup­port and Wick­low RNLI.

Mu­si­cians and singers from all over Wick­low will per­form dif­fer­ent songs from the Cana­dian singer-song­writ­ers reper­toire, and will also ex­plain why they se­lected that par­tic­u­lar tune.

The or­gan­iser of the fundraiser, Robert Doyle, is a huge Leonard Co­hen fan and ac­tu­ally got an op­por­tu­nity to spend some time with his hero in the late 1970’s.

‘I was work­ing in a ho­tel in Switzer­land where he was stay­ing in 1979. I had one of his song-books that I was hop­ing he would sign. I was work­ing and might have lost my job if my em­ploy­ees found out but I de­cided to risk it.

‘He was on an end suite and when I ap­proached the door was al­ready open and he was around 20 feet away just pass­ing the door. He did a dou­ble take when he saw me. I said ‘I’m very sorry but I was at your con­cert and I was just won­der­ing if you would sing this song book of yours I have?’ Im­me­di­ately he asked ‘do you mind if I ask you what you thought of the con­cert?’ He then went on to ask me about ev­ery mu­si­cian in his band and their per­for­mance and wanted to know how other peo­ple in the au­di­ence around me re­acted to the con­cert.

‘He was about to have a party and af­ter hear­ing I had one of his song-books, he asked if I would sing for them. Of course I said ‘no’ which is prob­a­bly the big­gest re­gret I ever had. I would have been ‘crap’ but I still would have been able to tell peo­ple I sang for Leonard Co­hen.

‘We chat­ted out on the cor­ri­dor for about half an hour, and dur­ing that time three dif­fer­ent peo­ple form his en­tourage came out and asked if he was com­ing back into his room. In the end I was the one who said ‘I’d bet­ter let you go.’ He said ‘are you sure you don’t want a drink?’ But I de­clined, plus I was meant to be work­ing.

‘When I worked as a pho­tog­ra­pher I took pic­tures of some fa­mous celebri­ties and singers and Leonard Co­hen was with­out doubt the must hum­ble and self-ef­fac­ing of them all.’

The trib­ute fundraiser takes place in the Grand Ho­tel on Fri­day, Septem­ber 22. The doors open at 7.30 p.m. and the mu­sic starts at 8.30 p.m..

All the pro­ceeds go to­ward Wick­low Can­cer Sup­port and Wick­low RNLI. A raf­fle will also be held a lim­ited edi­tion framed pic­ture of Leonard Co­hen taken by Robert at the last ever Ir­ish con­cert Co­hen played at in the 02 in 2013, hav­ing been per­son­ally booked by the singer’s man­age­ment as the night’s pho­tog­ra­pher. Tick­ets for the con­cert are avail­able at Halpin’s Bridge Cafe, Track One Mu­sic Store, the Grand Ho­tel and Wings and Things, Main Street, Wick­low town.

Robert Doyle with his framed photo of Leonard Co­hen.

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