In Cohen’s original version, there are a number references to the Bible. Even the title of the song, “Hallelujah,” in Hebrew means “Glory to the Lord.”
However, ultimately his song is about love and heartbreak, using religious imagery and references to some of the more notable women in the Old Testament. The line, “You saw her bathing on the roof, her beauty and the moonlight overthrew you,” is reference to David’s temptation by Bathsheba. The line, “She tied you to her kitchen chair, she broke your throne and she cut your hair,” alludes to Delilah, the woman who cut Samson’s hair which contained his strength.
The combination of thought-provoking and relatable lyrics with the powerful chord progression gives “Hallelujah” the ability to penetrate the very soul of the listener. It’s no wonder so many artists have covered Cohen’s original version, or that it has been included in so many movies or television shows.
This song has become a popular song around Christmas time, likely due to the repetition of the word “Hallelujah.” However, it is not a “Christmas” song, since it does not reference Jesus’ birth or the virgin birth directly.
An argument can be made for the line, “But remember when I moved in you and the holy dove was moving to,” insinuating the Immaculate Conception. With this being the only mention of Jesus’ birth and the overarching theme of heartbreak, classifying the original as a Christmas tune is a bit of a stretch.
Yet, due to the creative nature of so many individuals, there are many versions tailored specifically for appropriate worship as well as the for Christmas season. This year, a new version has been created and circulated around the internet with the lyrics telling the Christmas story.
It is masterfully done and arranged for an entire choir with a soloist. However, it is not gaining attention for the artist’s arrangement or lyrical modification but rather because of who sings it.
Check out the powerful video below. When you find out who sings it, you will be left speechless:
The soloist is Kayleigh Rogers, a 10-year-old girl who attends Killard House School in Donaghadee, North Ireland. Standing in front of the camera with an entire chorus behind her, you would never believe she is “normally very shy,” according to her principal, or that she suffers from autism as well as ADHD.
Killard House School is dedicated to providing a personal learning experience to their students with learning disabilities. Her music teacher, Lloyd Scates, recognized Kayleigh’s vocal talent immediately and has been encouraging her to sing solos, in order to build her confidence, ever since she started attending.
Kayleigh’s mother, Tracy, has seen the impact Scates and the rest of the faculty have had on her daughter saying, “She always loved singing, but it wasn’t until she started at Killard House School that she really came into her own.” Specifically, she has been impressed with Scates, adding, “He’s like her safety blanket – he’s amazing.”
Tracy has admitted her daughter may have some opportunities to sing professionally but that it would only work if Scates was involved. Just another example of the impact a compassionate, patient, and loving teacher can have on his or her students.
The video above has been viewed and shared hundreds of thousands of times and viewed all across the world. One person commented on YouTube, “The fantastic thing about this video is that it’s not just good because she’s 10. And it’s not just good because she’s dealing with autism and ADHD. It’s good because it’s good ― really good.”
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