Naima Bock Covers Leonard Cohen’s “So Long, Marianne”

Naima Bock has shared a cover of Leonard Cohen’s archetypal masterpiece, “So Long, Marianne,” available now on all DSPs from Sub Pop/Memorials of Distinction. This stand-alone track was engineered & produced by Ali Chant at The Playpen Studio in Bristol, UK.

Bock shares about the cover: “I first found out about Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long Marianne’ when I was walking in Fordham Park in New Cross, London as a young teenager. I saw ‘To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again’ inscribed on a bench plate in memory of a woman called Marianne (this bench has now sadly gone). The lyrics touched me in a profound way, and I remember crying a little when I saw them. These words in the context of someone’s passing were so profound and (for me) encompassed all of life and its constant tides. Of course, I later went home and listened to the hell out of Mr. Cohen, which I would continue to do for many years after, always finding safety in his voice and words.”

We (myself and the band) had been playing this song as a cover during our tours in 2022, and when we went in with Ali Chant, we decided to record a live version of it. I always felt nervous about recording a cover of Leonard Cohen. it obviously never stands up to the original, but I wanted to do it justice and, if nothing else, try not to diminish it in any way. My feelings around this recording were somewhat complicated, and although I could recognize how good the band (Meitar Wegman on Saxophone, Cassidy Hansen on drums, Clem Appleby on bass/ electric guitar, and Oliver Hamilton on violin, everyone on backing vocals) sounded, I didn’t like my vocal delivery. That is until I heard the backing vocals come in on a later chorus, and something inside me clicked, and I fell in love with what we had done.

I have always felt hugely supported by the musicians I play with, and when I heard their voices in this recording, it reminded me to be accepting and LOVING of imperfections, imperfections in my voice, which I have always (like many singers) been painfully aware of, imperfections in art, in myself. I thought if I didn’t want to present something imperfect to the world, then where do I stand morally in regards to what people consume, perfection only? This is the reality for many people, not just in artistic expression but in appearance, career trajectory etc. perfection only pleases. This is not only unrealistic but also detrimental to our minds and souls, we never will be perfect and if all we consume feels like it is, then we must be less. This is not a game that I will support, so here it is, my lovingly given imperfect version of ‘So long, Marianne’. I also altered the lyrics from ‘Violet park’ to ‘Fordham park’ to honour the Marianne who introduced me (from the other side) to Leonard Cohen.“

Bock will embark on a 9-date EU tour, beginning in Leipzig, Germany, on September 15th, opening for Squid, with headline and festival performances in the UK & Vienna in November. See below for a full list of dates.

Fri. Sep. 15 – Leipzig, DE – UT Connewitz #
Sat. Sep. 16 –  Zurich, CH – Mascotte #
Tue. Sep. 19 – Milan, It – Santeria Social Club #
Thu. Sep. 21 – Barcelona, ES – Sala Apolo  #
Fri. Sep. 22 – Valencia, ES – Teatro La Rambleta #
Sat. Sep. 23 – Madrid, ES – Sala Copernico #
Sun. Sep. 24 – Bordeaux, FR – Rock School Barbey #
Mon. Sep. 25 – Paris, FR – Elysee Montmartre #
Wed. Sep. 27 – Rouen, FR – Le 106 #
Mon. Oct. 25 – Totnes, UK – The Albatross
Tue. Oct. 26 – Falmouth, UK – The Cornish Bank
Fri. Nov. 03 – Hebden Bridge, UK – The Trades Club
Sun. Nov. 05 – Manchester, UK – Deaf Institute
Thu. Nov. 9 – Bristol, UK – Dareshack
Fri. Nov. 10 – London, UK – EartH (AKA Hackney Arts Centre)
Thur. Nov. 23 – Vienna, AT – Blue Bird Festival (Porgy & Bess)
# w/ Squid