At BART Stations, a Choir Pays Tribute to Leonard Cohen

The country was still reeling from the presidential election on the evening of Nov. 10 when news broke that Leonard Cohen had died at the age of 82. For fans of the Canadian poet and singer, whose inimitable baritone, dark humor and honest lyricism provided comfort through so many dark times, it felt a little like getting punched when you were already down: how do you mourn a person you’ve counted on in the past to guide you through mourning?

The answer, of course, is with his music. Just ask Conspiracy of Beards, a 30-member choir of men who’ve been performing a capella Cohen songs around the Bay since 2003, from the Great American Music Hall and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass to SFMOMA. Within hours of the singer’s passing, tribute shows were surely in the works at music venues all over the world -- but the Beards decided they needed to bring the music to the people, and quickly. How better than with Bay Area Rapid Transit?

KQED Arts caught up with the choir on the evening of Nov. 14 as they set out on the “Conspiracy of Beards BART Station Tour,” which began shortly after 7pm at the Embarcadero station, moving on to performances in the Montgomery, Powell, Civic Center, and 16th Street stations before a finale at 24th Street in the Mission. Here’s what we heard.

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