Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe Cover Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”: Listen


Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe Cover Leonard Cohen’s “Who by Fire”: Listen

Skinny Pelembe is performing at Pitchfork Music Festival Paris in November

Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe

Beth Orton and Skinny Pelembe, photo by Siam Coy

Skinny Pelembe and Beth Orton have shared a cover of Leonard Cohen’s 1974 track “Who by Fire.” It’s Orton’s first music since 2022’s Weather Alive; Skinny Pelembe released his second album, Hardly the Same Snake, earlier this Spring. His debut LP, Dreaming Is Dead Now, dropped in 2019. Check out “Who by Fire” below.

The Partisan labelmates met by chance at Glastonbury this summer in between their respective sets on the West Holts Stage. Of the cover, Orton said in a statement: 

“I have always felt connected to the work of Leonard Cohen. I toured “I’m Your Man” with an amazing cast of people, and every night I was intrigued by the mystery of “Who By Fire.” I was never totally satisfied that I understood the song. When Doya [Skinny Pelembe] sent me his version I was immediately taken by the Serge Gainsbourg quality of the drums and the overall feel, and I loved the cheek and punk-like spirit of this version, and seeing as I was in a studio in Paris, I didn’t give a second thought to throwing myself into Doya’s re-interpretation. Climbing inside the words this way brought the meaning of the song into new focus, the passion and heart-breaking inevitability of human nature that Leonard Cohen writes of like no other came alive to me finally.”

Skinny Pelembe added:

“When I signed to Partisan, I remember having a conversation with Tim who founded the label as to whether Partisan was named after the Leonard Cohen song, The Partisan. He told me it was. I’d just recently been in the studio with The Heliocentrics’ Malcolm Catto, and had a few great breaks left over from the album that I’d not used. So I had Leonard on the mind and Malcolm’s beat swimming round my subconscious.”It all came together this summer when I asked Beth if she’d be up for singing on it too. She sent me a tonne of amazing vocal takes, all of them brilliant, so I kept them all.”

In November, Skinny Pelembe is performing as part of Pitchfork Music Festival Paris. Tickets are on sale now.

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