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LISTEN TO ANTONY, AN ANDROGYNOUS ANGEL

A friend, Jenny, kindly invited me for my birthday to come to watch at Dartington, Totnes on film Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man – a tribute to the Canadian singer-poet, Leonard Cohen. Various artists sang several of his best known songs including “I’m Your Man” Suzanne, Tower of Song and Hallelujah.

Halfway through the concert, a guy dressed in black, a little heavy in build, and with black lanky hair, looking a bit like a mediaeval monk, named Antony of Antony and the Johnsons came on stage and sang a less known song of Leonard Cohen called “If it be your will.” that starting with the words….
“If it be your will
That I speak no more
And my voice be still
As it was before
I will speak no more
I shall abide until
I am spoken for
If it be your will
If it be your will
That a voice be true …”

Anthony sang with a haunting sensitivity that expressed itself throughout every note. This voice expressed a very rare quality. I had one of those seminal moments in the act of listening that resonated throughout my whole being of sheer jhanic (deep absorption) happiness – the sweetness of the voice, with his breathtaking range of emotions from an exquisite depth to an angelic high. As soon as I arrived home, I googled his name to find out about his music and the name. Born in Chichester, Sussex, England, Antony has lived for many years in the USA. He is a rare being – he embraces both male and female and through the unity of the two, he reaches out so that several songs feel like a hymn to humanity. Love, forgiveness, sorrow, identity, death feature in the lyrics – very simple and to the point.

In the sweetest of ways, Antony is fearless in terms of his lyrics.

One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful woman
One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful girl
One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful woman
One day I’ll grow up, I’ll be a beautiful girl
But for today I am a child, for today I am a boy

Antony has clearly touched a chord with those professionals who give their life to music. His 2005 album I am Bird Now won the prestigious Mercury Music Award given by a panel of industry experts, journalists and artists, for the album’s originality and creativity rather than sales success. The chairman of the judges said “I am a Bird Now is not like any album I have heard before or since.”Laurie Anderson, a creative artist herself, said: “When he sings it is the most exquisite thing that you will hear in your life.”

I bought the album the next day and played it one evening on the retreat that Nicole Stern and I were offering on The Power of Intimacy in the Waldhaus, near Bonn, Germany. Listen to it and let your heart sing.

Listen to Antony sing >>




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