Cohen announces first Irish date in two decades

Wed, Mar 12, 2008, 00:00

LEGENDARY CANADIAN singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen is set to play Ireland for the first time in two decades in a summer concert at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham Dublin. The outdoor seated concert on June 14th will begin the European leg of his tour, which was announced yesterday.

The 73-year-old has not toured for 15 years. Cohen last played Ireland in the summer of 1988 with two concerts in the National Stadium, Dublin. Tickets will go on sale this Friday at 9am and are priced from €88.50 to €115.

He is also due to play the eight UK dates including the Glastonbury and Chill festivals as well as the O2 Arena in London.

His tour kicks off with two nights in his Toronto on June 6th. Other European dates include Vienna, Lyon, Athens and Amsterdam. Details of the tour were announced after Cohen was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York on Monday when Lou Reed described him as "one of the most important and influential songwriters of our time".

Cohen is still writing songs and his new album is planned for release by the end of the year. He released his first album, Songs of Leonard Cohen, in 1967.

Cohen has released two new albums since his last tour, Ten New Songs (2001) and Dear Heather (2004) as well as a number of live and compilation albums. He also co-wrote and produced Blue Alert (2006) which is sung by former backing singer Anjani Thomas.

The late Jeff Buckley's version of Cohen's Hallelujah is currently number one in the US iTunes charts after a contestant on US television talent show American Idol recently covered it.

It is estimated that Cohen's songbook has been been covered more than 1,330 times by artists, including U2, Nick Cave and Rufus Wainwright.