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Naima Bock Unveils Heartfelt Interpretation of Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’

Naima Bock brings her unique rendition of Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long, Marianne’ to the fore. The reinterpretation was masterfully crafted by producer Ali Chant at The Playpen Studio in Bristol. Give it a listen below.

“Wandering through New Cross’s Fordham Park in London as a young teen, I stumbled upon Leonard Cohen’s ‘So Long Marianne’ in a most unexpected way,” Bock recounted via a press statement. “Engraved on a bench dedicated to a late woman named Marianne (which, regrettably, no longer exists) were the words ‘To laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all again.’ I was profoundly moved by the inscription — to the point of tears. It eloquently captured the essence of life’s perpetual ebb and flow in the face of someone’s departure. Naturally, this led to my avid immersion into Cohen’s music, finding solace in his sonorous voice and poetic lyrics continuously thereafter.”

Bock opened up further:

Throughout our 2022 tours, this track became a staple in our setlist. When recording with Ali Chant, we opted to lay down a live take of it. I admit, I approached covering Leonard Cohen with considerable trepidation — a cover could never eclipse the original, but it was crucial to me that we honor its spirit without detracting from its significance. In truth, I had mixed feelings about the recording. Despite acknowledging the band’s stellar performance, my own vocal execution left me wanting. But then, as I heard the collective harmonies emerge in one of the latter choruses, my perspective shifted and I embraced what we had achieved.

The support of my fellow musicians has always been a cornerstone of my experience, and their voices in the mix served as a reminder to cherish the flaws — the flaws in my singing that, like many vocalists, I’ve always been acutely conscious of, and the flaws inherent in all forms of art and in ourselves. If we present only what’s polished, we set unrealistic benchmarks for what is perceived as acceptable in various facets of life, art, or personal progress. Such notions are not only unattainable but also corrosive to our mental and spiritual well-being, as they place impossible standards before us. I refuse to propagate this ‘perfection-only’ paradigm. Thus, I present to you my sincerely offered, beautifully flawed version of ‘So Long, Marianne’ — with a lyrical twist from ‘Violet park’ to ‘Fordham park’ to pay homage to the Marianne who guided me to Leonard Cohen from beyond.”

In July of the previous year, Bock’s debut album, Giant Palm, graced our ears. More recently, she let loose the track ‘Lies’. Explore our exclusive interview with Naima Bock to learn more about her artistry.

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