Thanks to Sony Music Canada for this press release.
First Aid Kit has announced the release of Who By Fire, a live tribute album to Leonard Cohen, due March 26 via Sony Sweden/Columbia Records. Performed across two nights at the Royal Dramatic Theater in Stockholm in March of 2017, the 20-track recording is a theatrical staging of Leonard Cohen’s songs, poems, and letters. Conceived and anchored by First Aid Kit, the Swedish sister duo were joined by an array of fellow Swedish guest artists, an 8 person band & strings, and two actors, as well as a 20+ person choir on two of the songs. Lead track “Suzanne” is available now alongside the album pre-order; sample through Spotify above.
Klara and Johanna, longtime fans and greatly inspired by Leonard Cohen, were deeply saddened by his passing in November of 2016. At the time, First Aid Kit shared: “… If you ever put a guitar in our hands and ask us to sing, we will always play ‘Suzanne.’ When we heard it for the first time we were transfixed. ‘How does one do that?’ we thought. ‘How does one write like that?’ One doesn’t, we suppose, only Leonard Cohen does… In the midst of this deep sadness, we are so intensely grateful… [His art] has been a guiding light for us for these past ten years since we started making music, both a consolation and an arrow pointing at where to strive…”
Speaking today about Who By Fire, the Söderberg sisters say: “We recently listened back to this concert and realized that this was something out of the ordinary for us. It was a challenge to create a performance that wasn’t centered around First Aid Kit songs. It was something we’d never done before, but everything came together so well. Dwelling deeply into Cohen’s world was a pleasure, he was so prolific as both a poet and a songwriter, and everything he ever put out held a very strong standard. He cared immensely for his work. The band, the guest artists, the atmosphere on stage…everyone had a great passion and it felt magical. This is definitely a record that is best enjoyed listening to back-to-back with no interruptions. Allow yourself to just disappear into Cohen’s world for a little while.
We decided not to edit any of the performances. The flaws are part of the live experience. In a time when you sadly can’t go to an actual physical live show, you can listen to this and imagine you were there…”
Who By Fire will be released in an exclusive format: a double deluxe, limited edition opaque blue vinyl that comes with a double sided poster. The first 2,000 copies sold through First Aid Kit’s website will be signed by Klara and Johanna. Who By Fire will also be released on standard CD accompanied by a fold out poster style booklet. For more information, visit http://www.firstaidkitband.com/.
The live tribute follows First Aid Kit’s 2018 critically acclaimed album Ruins and subsequent EP ‘Tender Offerings’ as well as standalone tracks “Strange Beauty,” “On The Road Again,” and “Come Give Me Love,” which was released in September of 2020.
Who By Fire Track List & Artist Credits:
1. Tired (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
2. Suzanne (First Aid Kit)
3. Sisters of Mercy (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
4. Who by Fire / As The Mist Leaves No Scar (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
5. Twelve O’Clock Chant (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
6. Everybody Knows (Frida Hyvönen, First Aid Kit)
7. Avalanche (Loney Dear)
8. The Future (Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
9. Chelsea Hotel No.5 (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
10. You Want It Darker (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
11. If It Be Your Will (First Aid Kit)
12. The Asthmatic (Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist, First Aid Kit)
13. Famous Blue Raincoat / Anthem (Maja Francis, First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani)
14. Show Me The Place (Jesper Lindell, First Aid Kit)
15. Hallelujah (Annika Norlin, First Aid Kit)
16. Prayer for Messiah (Klara Söderberg)
17. Bird on the Wire (First Aid Kit )
18. Who by Fire (Reprise) / Letter to Marianne (First Aid Kit, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
19. So Long Marianne (First Aid Kit, Frida Hyvönen, Loney Dear, Jesper Lindell, Annika Norlin, Maja Francis, Nina Zanjani, Maia Hansson-Bergqvist)
20. You’d Sing Too (Johanna Söderberg)