Thursday, July 10, 2008

Patti Smith Plays in Lebanon, at the Byblos Music Festival, July 8

Patti in Byblos (Joseph Barrak/AFP/Getty Images)

Patti Smith is simply da bomb. She practically invented punk. She continues to be a model for women in the rock music scene. And she continues to write and release essential music.

And...she is one of a handful of popular US artists to manifest sympathy for Arab victims of Israeli militarism. During the Israeli onslaught on Lebanon in summer 2006, she wrote the song "Qana," about the Israeli airstrike on that village in Southern Lebanon on July 30 (you can download it here).

I've never, ever, had the pleasure of seeing her in concert. But I'm very excited that her fans in Lebanon got to see her perform at the Byblos Music Festival, on July 8.

The following is from a Reuters report on her visit:

Smith said performing in Lebanon was one of her big dreams and that she felt a bond with the Lebanese because of the tragedies and trials both have gone through.

"We're very very proud to be with you tonight in Lebanon. It is a great dreams of ours to be here," Smith told fans.

Smith, an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and a published poet, said she felt kinship to Lebanese who have witnessed much turbulence in the past few years, from war with Israel to internal fighting.

"My first impression was the hospitality and generosity of the people, not looking at me funny, not thinking who is she, what is she dressed like. Everyone has been completely unjudgemental and I find, you know the city [Beirut] is vibrant and interesting and you know you were talking about me facing tragedy but the city and also people have also undergone all kinds of trials and tribulations and I know about trials and tribulations," Smith, told a reporters a day before the concert.

Here's a link to an NPR report on the concert by Zena Barakat. Zena doesn't mention it, but Patti did perform "Qana" at Byblos, as reported in The Daily Star.

And listen to Patti performing the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." I feel fairly confident that the Rolling Stones couldn't do the song so much justice if they were performing it live these days.
Gimme Shelter [Rolling Stones cover] - Patti Smith


Anonymous said...

Invented punk? Jesus Christ, she has one tolerable song and it was written by Bruce Springsteen! She is to punk what the Monkees were to the British invasion. . .

Ted Swedenburg said...

One tolerable song??!! What about "Gloria" or "Dancing Barefoot" or "Space Monkey" or "Babelogue/Rock'n'Roll Nigger"? All better than "Because the Night"--which she CO-wrote with Springsteen.

Patti Smith was recording BEFORE the Sex Pistols. And to compare her to the Monkees is like comparing Erykah Badu to Britney Spears. Wack.

Jonathan Guyer said...

i love patti

I'm currently an intern at MERIP and look forward to more posts.

check out my editorial cartoons at

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