Musical review: Pathway to Paris, Theater Royal, Glasgow

Patti Smith PIC: Alain Jocard / AFP / Getty Images

Chemin de Paris, Royal Theater, Glasgow ****

On the eve of COP26, the Théâtre Royal hosted the latest thoughtful creative stir from Pathway to Paris, a non-profit organization bringing together artists, poets and musicians in the climate movement.

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Founders Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, on piano and cello respectively, have influential connections, including climate campaign veteran Bill McKibben who directed much of the evening, and Smith’s mother – the high priestess of the punk, Patti Smith.

But we also heard directly from those on the cutting edge – from Mary Kinyua, president of Fairtrade Africa, young Ugandan activist Vanessa Nakate and Mohamed Nasheed, the former president of the Maldives, who survived an assassination attempt. earlier this year. All speak with dignity, purpose and urgency about their particular front lines, so much so that the actions the public has been encouraged to participate in – shining the lights on Little Sun, writing a letter to JPMorgan Chase executive Jamie Dimon – looked rather skinny in comparison.

The New York Soundwalk Collective underpinned two specially commissioned pieces with their field recordings and ambient soundscapes. Tibetan composer Tenzin Choegyal conducted Khandroma on a singing bowl, Himalayan flute and moving lament. From the Roof of the World, they plunged to the bottom of the ocean as Patti Smith intoned the slow, dark Cry of the Lost, unfolding like an actual fable of the marine apocalypse, later supplemented by her own sinister year My Blakean.

The best of Fife, Kenny Anderson aka King Creosote, has joined this international lineup to perform some of their distinctive painful lullabies. Smith, a declared fan, swapped lyrical notes and joined him for the melancholy elevation of Pauper’s Dough and the pair were augmented by the rest of the climate cast as well as members of Belle & Sebastian, The Pastels and Future. Pilot AKA for a moving finale of Smith’s Standalone Anthem People Have the Power, an affirmation that is still needed now more than ever.

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