Punk legend Patti Smith and her long time touring guitarist Lenny Kaye performed “People Have The Power” for early voters on the streets of New York City. This performance was shared by the Joy to the Polls campaign, which commissioned musicians to make playlists for people waiting in line to vote.
Smith temporarily takes off her mask to sing the track, but remains socially distanced the entire time she sings, as Kaye stands by her while wearing a mask and strumming his guitar. This stripped down style and its lyrics expressing human solidarity, fits in well with her goal of encouraging people to vote.
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⚡️ The People Have the Power⚡️ Singing to voters in the streets is so punk! We love @thisispattismith bringing people power to the polls with this impromptu performance in NYC earlier this week. You don’t have to be the Godmother of Punk to surprise and delight voters in long voting lines! How are you bringing #JoyToThePolls on Tuesday? Check out the link in our bio for a toolkit for artists and performers. Repost @zoe_leonard_studio
Smith teamed up with the likes of Joan Baez, Michael Stipe, Ben Harper, Kaye, Cyndi Lauper and many others for a virtual rendition of the song during the Pathways to Paris Sixth anniversary. Back in September Smith held “An Evening Of Words and Music” broadcast, which was streamed live from The Murmrr Theatre.
She teamed up with the Soundwalk Collective this year for the studio album Peradam, which was supported by its title track single and a song called “Knowledge of The Self.” This album featured guest appearances from Anoushka Shankar, Tenzin Choegyal and Charlotte Gainsbourg and was heavily inspired by South Asian influences.
“There is value in pushing art forms forward, and there is no shame in needing a boost from a medium that is a bit further down the experimental path,” mxdwn reviewer Drew Pitt explained. “Peradam presents an unyielding picture of how that can be accomplished by faithfully adapting its confounding source material into an equally confounding record. Answers may not come easily, but worthwhile things rarely do, and people should all be happy that they are allowed to sit and digest this record at all.”
Photo Credit: Alyssa Fried