Thursday, April 19, 2007

EMP 2007: Hallelujah!

The annual greatness that is the EMP Pop Conference opens today. This year's theme is "Waking Up From History: Music, Time, and Place", and the various abstracts can be found here. I've only read a few, but one in particular has caught my attention: Michael Barthel, who also runs the Clap Clap blog, will do a presentation on Leonards Cohen's "Hallelujah" and the many cover versions of said song. As he writes in his abstract, "I will offer a close reading of the changes in form and meaning "Hallelujah" has undergone, from Cohen's own revisions to its interpreters' cherry-picking of verses, and the way that these changes reflect the cultural moments that spawned them".

As some of you may know, two recordings of "Hallelujah" has certainly made impacts here in Norway. First, it was Jeff Buckley's pained version making its way to many a dorm room cd-player, as well as touching the parent generation. And last year, Norwegian record buyers made Lind / Nilsen / Fuentes / Holm's Hallelujah Live one of the biggest selling records of 2006, in no small part because of their version of "Hallelujah", which was based on Buckley's interpretation rather than the original.

Barthel has said he will most likely post a written version of his presentation on the web, so for those of us not going to Seattle this weekend, we'll have to wait for what will surely be an interesting read.

1 comment:

Mike B. said...

Thanks for the kind words, Chris--I am planning on posting the paper later this week, as soon as I can figure out how to effectively integrate the multimedia elements, and also to add a few things that I wasn't able to get to in the time allotted, including the implications of that Hallelujah Live album. Hopefully!

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