Monday, February 13, 2012

Patti Smith's Howl Spells


Dave L Stevens of Stevens Internet Productions has generously uploaded to You Tube this stunning performance of "Spell" a.k.a."Footnote to Howl" by Patti Smith and her band, with Philip Glass on piano, and back-up "vocals" by saffron-robed Buddhist monks (the recitation was in honor of a visit by His Holiness the Dalai Lama). As Stevens himself notes, "Not seen for more than a decade. I directed and produced this interactive webcast. When Patti Smith begins "howling" on her clarinet, it's sublime."
Contrast for production values, this next rendition, recorded in Florence, Italy, in 2009 (hence the Fernanda Pivano reference!), the shakey hand-held camera, the straight-from-the-audience
placement, the decidedly amateur "bootleg" quality, and yet, and maybe even because of all that, the power of the invocation comes through


The 1997 version that appeared on her album, Peace and Noise, may be listened to here.
The version she performed at the New York St John the Divine Ginsberg Memorial (beginning approximately 19 minutes in to the recording) here
A spirited live version (recorded 2000 in Seattle) here
From Steven Sebring's 2008 documentary, Patti Smith:Dream of Life - here (along with German sub-titles!):


and here's Allen himself reading it (with on-screen translation in Spanish !)

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