Patti Smith is marking Inauguration Day with a rendition of The People Have the Power, the rousing song she co-wrote with her late husband Fred ‘Sonic’ Smith in 1988. Smith and her band specially recorded the new version in New York last week. “It’s a beautiful night, we have a new president and vice president and our democracy seems to be quite intact,” she says in the video. The 30-minute presentation combines music with poetry and will be free to watch on the CIRCA YouTube channel at 20:21 GMT/15:21 EST on 20 January.
The video also includes Smith's performance of Grateful (2000), and both songs are set against a montage that pays homage to individuals and organisations past and present who have used their voices to create a better future. These include Shirley Chisholm, the first black Congresswoman; the environmental campaigner Greta Thunberg; Vice President-elect Kamala Harris; the anti-gun activist Naomi Wadler; as well as the Soup Kitchen in Holborn; the Emergency Designer Network and many more.
“This performance goes to everyone, it’s for everyone all over the world,” declares Smith in the video, adding that “2020 has been a Blakean year but I think the glad day is coming.” Here’s hoping.