Leonard Cohen Performs Beloved French-Canadian Song "La Manic" by Georges Dor at Montreal Concert 2, Nov 29.12

November 29, 2012

Tonight at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Leonard Cohen delighted the home crowd at his second concert with a cover of Georges Dor's La Manic, a beloved French-Canadian song.

I observed LC rehearsing this song with the band when Leslie Wener and I were at the Austin second concert soundcheck. I didn't recognize it at the time, but guessed he was readying it for Montreal and Quebec City.  My first reaction, wow, he's already memorized at least 50 songs for this tour and now he's memorized a very long song with French lyrics.  And he sang it with such ease at the soundcheck.  He certainly looked like he was enjoying every take "from the top".
Georges Dor (March 10, 1931 - July 24, 2001) (born Georges-Henri Dore) was a Québécois author, composer, playwright, singer, poet, translator, and theatrical producer and director.
Born in Drummondville, Dor undertook a career in radio as a disk jockey and news director. He worked for Radio-Canada, the national Canadian broadcaster, where he became a director for the Evening News. He wrote poems for many years, but in 1964 he was encouraged by friends to compete in an amateur singing competition. He began singing professionally in early 1965, and released his first album in 1966. One of the songs from this album, his composition "La Manic", whose lyrics were a love letter written by a construction worker on the Manicouagan power project, became the most successful record ever by a Quebec chansonnier.

He continued to perform as a singer until 1972, and to record until 1978. After that he worked mainly in the theatre and in television, producing and writing plays and téléromans. He also wrote two novels and published several collections of poetry, among other artistic and critical accomplishments
La Manic The Manic (Lyrics translate)

Si tu savais comme on s'ennuie à la Manic If only you knew how long the time is at Manic
Tu m'écrirais bien plus souvent à la Manicouagan You'd write way more often, to the Manicouagan
Parfois je pense à toi si fort Sometimes I think so hard about you
Je récrée ton âme et ton corps That I recreate your soul and your body
Je te regarde et m'émerveille I look at you and I am filled with wonder
Je me prolonge en toi I throw myself into you
Comme le fleuve dans la mer Just like the river into the sea
Et la fleur dans l'abeille And the flower into the bee

Que deviennent quand j'suis pas là mon bel amour My beautiful lover, what do your silken forehead
Ton front doux comme fine soie et tes yeux de velours And your velvet eyes become, when I am not there
Te tournes-tu vers la côte nord Do you turn towards the Côte-Nord
Pour voir un peu pour voir encore To see a little, to see some more
Ma main qui te fait signe d'attendre My hand signalling you to wait
Soir et matin je tends les bras At twilight and at dawn, I reach out
Je te rejoins où que tu sois I meet you wherever you may be
Et je te garde And I keep you

Dis-moi c'qui s'passe à Trois-Rivières et à Québec Tell me what's going on in Trois-Rivières and in Quebec City
Là où la vie a tant à faire et tout c'qu'on fait avec Where there's so much to do, and eveything we do with it
Dis-moi c'qui s'passe à Montréal Tell me what's going on in Montreal
Dans les rues sales et transversales In the dirty side streets
Où tu es toujours la plus belle Where you're always the more beautiful
Car la laideur ne t'atteint pas Because ugliness can't get to you
Toi que j'aimerai jusqu'au trépas You, who I'll love until I pass away
Mon éternelle My eternal

Nous autres on fait les fanfarons à coeur de jour We boast around all day long
Mais on est tous de bons larrons cloués à leurs amours But we're all good guys faithful to their loves
Y'en a qui jouent de la guitare Some play guitar
D'autres qui jouent d'l'accordéon Others play accordion
Pour passer l'temps quand y'est trop long To pass time, when the time is long
Mais moi je joue de mes amours But me, I play of my love
Et je danse en disant ton nom And I dance, saying your name
Tellement je t'aime Because I love you so much

Si tu savais comme on s'ennuie à la Manic If only you knew how long the time is at Manic
Tu m'écrirais bien plus souvent à la Manicouagan You'd write way more often, to the Manicouagan
Si t'as pas grand chose à me dire If you don't have much to tell me
Écris cent fois les mots «Je t'aime» Write the words 'I love you' a hundred times
Ça fera le plus beau des poèmes It will be the most beautiful of poems
Je le lirai cent fois I'll read it a hundred times
Cent fois cent fois c'est pas beaucoup A hundred times, a hundred times are not a lot
Pour ceux qui s'aiment For those who are in love

Si tu savais comme on s'ennuie If only you knew how long the time is
À la Manic At Manic
Tu m'écrirais bien plus souvent You'd write way more often
À la Manicouagan To the Manicouagan

LC quoted from this song in his moving acceptance speech at the 2006 Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. The video clip is cued to start at that point. Be sure to watch his whole acceptance speech and have your tissues ready, especially when LC wipes away his own tears.

Here is a video of Georges Dor performing "La Manic"

Christine Long of CTV leaked the Montreal Nov 28 setlist prior to the concert with a spoiler alert, for shame.

"La Manic" was included in small letters towards the end of the concert. but was not performed at the first concert.

  • Georges Dor bio from Youtube description here
  • La Manic lyrics from LyricsMania here
  • Thanks go to Joe Way for remembering LC's acceptance speech at the CSHF
  • CSHF video uploaded by ljw2919
  • Georges Dor video uploaded by JackRetro
Update: Nov 29,12 Concert video: Leonard Cohen chante La Manic (Montréal) 29 novembre 2012 
Update 2: Concert video Leonard Cohen - La Manic (reprise/cover Georges Dor) Montreal Nov 29.12
Update 3: Concert video Leonard Cohen - La Manic (Georges Dor cover) - Centre Bell, Montreal - 29-11-2012 (World premiere)
Update 4:  Quebec City concert video Leonard Cohen - La Manic (Georges Dor cover) - Colisèe Pepsi, Quebec City - 02-12-2012
Update 5: Ottawa Concert video Leonard Cohen - Ottawa Dec 7, 2012 - La Manic

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