Today, 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; listen and pre-purchase Who By Fire HERE.
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 limited vinyl will be available for purchase via First Aid Kit’s website, and the first 2,000 copies sold 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/.