Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on May 15th 2012 1:30PM by Jason MacNeil
Joel Saget, AFP
Cohen mentioned the Canada Council for the Arts in a brief speech saying "without the help and encouragement of the Canada Council, I would never have written The Favorite Game or The Spice Box of Earth," referring to early writing works.
He then said encouraging words to the musicians who were set to perform his songs that night.
"I'm going to make these remarks mercifully short because I want to hear the music... if there is any anxiety about performing in front of me, please let it dissolve completely," Cohen said. "I go into bouts of childlike ecstasy... when I hear anyone cover my songs."
The concert included performances from a wide array of artists including John Prine, Blue Rodeo's Greg Keelor and Cowboy Junkies and Adam Cohen, his son, who performed "Hey, That's No Way to Say Goodbye." The performance closed with a singalong of Cohen's 1967 number "So Long, Marianne."
"I welled up when my father was speaking," the younger Cohen said. "I'm so honored to be part of this honor. Thank you for the music. Thank you dad."
Meanwhile, the honoree also mentioned meeting the late Glenn Gould around 1960 with Cohen interviewing the famed pianist for a magazine.
"This was before the days of tape recorders," Cohen said. "I was so engrossed by what he was saying, I stopped taking notes. Those words were burned into my soul."
Other speakers during the evening included former Canadian governor-general Adrienne Clarkson, author Michael Ondaatje and actor Alan Rickman.
Cohen became the ninth recipient of the award, joining the likes of the late Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson. The prize also comes with a $15,000 protégé honour which was received by Sistema, a musical education program in Toronto that Cohen selected as the winner.
The musician recently announced a string of North American dates as part of his Old Ideas World Tour. The trek begins in Austin on Oct. 31 before concluding Dec. 20 in Brooklyn with 10 Canadian dates included. The tour is in support of his new album Old Ideas.