Leonard Cohen: Statue of late singer-songwriter unveiled in Vilnius, Lithuania


A statue of late singer Leonard Cohen — said to be the first in the world — has been unveiled in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius.

Both of Cohen’s grandfathers hailed from Lithuania, but the Canadian musician never visited the country himself. Cohen, who died in 2016, was born in Montreal to the daughter of a Jewish rabbi from Kaunas in 1934, seven years after she emigrated to Canada at the age of 22. His paternal grandfather was the founder of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Statues of Frank Zappa and John Lennon, neither of whom have ties to the country, are also a big tourist draw in Lithuania.

The monument to Cohen came about as an initiative of a Norwegian businessman John Afseth who has lived in Vilnius for the past 15 years and is married to a Lithuanian. He says he has plans to erect nine more sculptures of world-famous musicians in the city, starting with Bob Dylan.

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