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5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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58th Annual GRAMMY Awards
Discover this year's nominees on CD and Vinyl, including Album of the Year, Artist of the Year, Best New Artist of the Year, and more. Learn more

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 5 2012)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada
  • In-Print Editions: Audio CD  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #18,426 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Amerigo
2. April Fool
3. Fuji - san
4. This Is The Girl
5. Banga
6. Maria
7. Mosaic
8. Tarkovsky (The Second Stop Is Jupiter)
9. Nine
10. Seneca
11. Constantine's Dream
12. After The Gold Rush

Product Description

Banga is Patti Smith's first collection of original material since 2004's critically-acclaimed Trampin'. The album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City and produced by Banga is Patti Smith's first collection of original material since 2004's critically-acclaimed Trampin'. The album was recorded at Electric Lady Studios in New York City and produced by Patti Smith and her band: Tony Shanahan, Jay Dee Daugherty and her long-time collaborator Lenny Kaye. Featured guests include Tom Verlaine, Jack Petruzzelli, Smith's son Jackson and daughter Jesse Paris. Inspired by Smith's unique dreams and observations, Banga's poetic lyrics are a reflection of our complex world a world that is rife with chaos and beauty. Praised for her storytelling abilities, Smith has crafted an album that captures a wide range of human experience. There is an exploratory spirit in the songs that make up Banga, including a melodic overture imagining the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci to the New World in 1497 ("Amerigo"), a rock song for the people of Japan in the wake of last years earthquake ("Fuji-san"), a classic ballad in memory of Amy Winehouse ("This Is The Girl"), an improvised meditation on art and nature ("Constantine's Dream") as well as a birthday song written for her friend Johnny Depp ("Nine").

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
the items arrived in great shape and very quickly as usual. I love the CD. the music is very close to what she used to do in her early days of fantastical meanderings. very prophetic. thanks.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Few artists grow and evolve into even greater artists, Patti Smith is one of those who have done so. This album blew me away , the opening track Amerigo evokes such a strong feeling of time and place. I recently saw her in concert in Portland ,she and her band are unbelievable live , a true artist with so much to offer.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9f1fa2dc) out of 5 stars 66 reviews
49 of 55 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f236e58) out of 5 stars A VOYAGE TO BEAUTY June 5 2012
By Manuel Grosso Galvan - Published on
Format: Audio CD
After eight years, the real Patti Smith is come back. Simple and beauty . Poems about one world that change every day but never disappear. The same group, the same sound but more personal, more confidential. Very close to the european culture, but more powerful, more close. The album is full of reference to cinema (Godard, Tarkovsky, Maria Schneider or Antonnioni) and literature, Buljakov or Gogol, but don't be afraid the music is very simple to hear and excellent. Specials feelings are in each song and "Constantine's Dream is a good example of this.
The special edition is beautiful, is like a poem book and also have a extra track, "Just Kids"with a very good collection of photos in black and white, a very interesting commentary about each song and the circumstance around the origin of each composition. Is not a simple "new" Patti Smith CD, is something more, a compilation of feelings over the world in a travel with no end. Serenity and wisdom. A good music for special people to try to communicate something more that simples sounds. A great work.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f23b27c) out of 5 stars Our mystic high priestess IS BACK <3 June 5 2012
By Daryl Barnett - Published on
Format: Audio CD
She never really goes away, but when she gifts us with what she has found after going into the depths of the souls of cities and history and books and music where she explores the human heart, she brings back such gems melded by the fire of her own heart. This album is so full of the sweet voice of her youth intermingled with the wisdom of her age. It's a prayer, it's a tale, it's a calling for us all to rest in her arms while she lullabies us to dream of the places we want to go to find our own inner pathways to peace and victory. It's a must listen for old fans, but it's a great intro for the youth who have not listened to her yet. Don't waste another day not hearing this one!
72 of 87 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f23b2f4) out of 5 stars Welcome Back, Old Friend June 9 2012
By Katherine McCarthy - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
"We were going to see the world." There was never a doubt in my mind about the destination. I knew she was going there, and that I was going with her.

My inclination when hearing this latest work was to say "Welcome back, old friend." My feeling about Patti is whenever she turns up it's like a much-loved friend from high school. We need to get a cup of coffee and catch up at the nearest bistro (not Starbucks.)

I first saw Patti on TV on a Sunday night on WWOR channel 9 in the early 1970's referring to subway graffiti as new age Jackson Pollack. It was a black & white documentary of 3 artists speaking on New York City. I noted, "keep on eye on this girl."

Buy the deluxe edition if you can afford it for no other reason than the hardcovered booklet is a beautiful work of art - photographs, Patti's thoughts and process of what went into creating and recording the music, the lyrics. There's no need on my part to try to summarize or interpret. She's done all the heavy lifting. There are moments of the mystical - especially the discovery of the image of "Dream of Constantine." Buy the deluxe edition because it's a BOOK. Kindle will never replace the feeling of turning a page, looking at the images, running your fingers across the page for the first time feeling like silk, opening the book and cracking the spine. It's a gift. The lyrics - poems, really - and the process unfolding are what attracted me to Patti in the first place.

I'm reminded of a moment back in the beginning. I was sitting on the floor of the Gotham Book Mart browsing through Joris Huysman's "Las Bas" first edition. It was pissing down rain. Gotham would never throw you out, even if it was obvious you had no money.

At the front was a small tome, "Seventh Heaven" with Patti's scrawl on front. I bought that instead. I still have it - binding undone, signature fading, much loved and much read. Like "Witt," "Ha Ha Houdini," "Babel." (I got the Huysmans later when I cashed my pay check from E.J. Korvette's down the street where I was Christmas help.) Gotham Book Mart is long gone. Apparently Patti worked there at one point. They were always my "go-to" place for new Patti stuff. Their logo on a small carved wooden sign: "Wise men fish here." (Long live independent book shops!)

Now what about the music? Well, I've now been living with it for a week. It's not left my CD player or iPod. It's been playing non-stop. It's so atmospheric that no one song jumps out. It's a dream scape. It's so intuitive I can't stop listening. It's nearly a concept album - and I'm old enough to remember albums - where you put the needle down on the groove and let it engulf you. "Banga" sinks into your muscles, sinews, spinal column. It's evocative. Like opium.

Patti's music took a turn towards the personal around "Dream of Life," the album recorded in partnership with her late husband Fred "Sonic" Smith. (When the heck is the R&R Hall of Fame going to induct the MC5? Storm the bastille of rock commercialism! The people have the power!) Her song to her Godson, "Seneca," recalls her lullaby to her own son Jackson on "Dream of Life."

With "Gone Again" Patti dealt with the deaths of her husband, her brother, Richard Sohl, and even Kurt Cobain. She needed to write it out, put it out there. There's something akin with "Banga." Cursory reviews have all mentioned deaths and dirges but it's never quite that simple with Patti. She feels deeply, and she shares deeply. Many of the songs do reference loss and love. (Isn't it about time that Maria Schneider got a proper send off?)

Hearing Patti's voice again with new songs transports me back to Max's Kansas City 1974. She'd added a piano player. (Now, that was a good thing, 'cause Patti couldn't sing and Lenny couldn't play, but Richard Sohl COULD. He had an ability to follow her and Lenny and fill in around them as they improvised transporting word scorcery into songs.) I had a little reel-to-reel tape recorder and recorded those sets at Max's. Cassettes hadn't been invented yet. I played those reel-to-reel tapes every morning when I got up until "Horses" came out. My sister, who shared our bedroom, said I ruined her life with it. I wish I still had them. What history! Starting at the beginning, even the Bible starts there, Patti signaled that she was always going to be a work in progress. Many of those classic songs on "Horses" once had completely different lyrics - like "Birdland" which began with part of one of her poems "Bar stools were made for woman like this." I noted: "Keep an eye on this girl."

I sold all my college textbooks. I went to Max's every night she and Television (the opening act with Richard Hell still in the band) for the full week's tenure. There were so few people there, less than I could count on all my fingers and toes, that Max's would let us stay for the late show without paying the cover fee, as long as we ordered the two drink minimum. During "Land" Patti reached down and took a swig of my Heinekin. (If only she knew how much that cost me.)

My relationship with Patti and the band has withstood every way station and change. I saw the band come together bit by bit - first with Jay Dee Dougherty added on the drums. Then Ivan Kral. Nothing will ever come close to "Horses" but then again, nothing should. The genie came out of the bottle. There was no going back. Any other artist might have been intimidated by such a brilliant debut. Rock history is littered with great first albums never to be repeated. From day one, Patti exuded brazen confidence. She simply creates - in any medium.

Another motif running through "Banga" is adventure, explorers, going across oceans, boundaries, time and the planets themselves. I was at the Academy of Music when she announced she wasn't going to tour again "until Ivan Kral gets his citizenship." I thought it was just a plug for the song on "Wave" but she disappeared to marry, raise children, live a life. "Banga" is Patti: a wife, a mother, a friend, now Medicare-eligible. In the course of living, creating, evolving, she is timeless and relevant.

"Banga" may be my favorite song on the album. I love the dog howls. I love dogs. My sister just rescued a labrabull from a shelter. Loyalty and love are themes in Patti's work. They are what define us as humans, who are, after all, like dogs, pack animals. Patti stuck with Lenny after every long-forgotten local punk rock band in NYC passed on him as a guitarist. Lenny has turned into quite the musical collaborator, hasn't he? Each of these songs developed almost telepathically - music written separately, independently, yet somehow the perfect foils for Patti's lyrics.

"Banga" is Patti at her best - great poetry. Evocative music. Personal lyrics. She's an artist to her very core. There's been a 30 year progression of incorporating Middle Eastern music into 3-chord rock and roll. There's an immersion of non-traditional rock instruments. "Mosaic" is hallucinatory. "Constantine's Dream" is ten-minute journey. Reviews that reference Patti's with punk music may actually miss the whole point. She, and the band, were never punk rock. They once said, "we are the last of the hippies." And they are.

You'd have to go waaaaayyy back to find anything that approaches "Banga" - Jim Morrison and the Doors, Arthur Lee and Love, Lou Reed and the Velvets, Grace Slick paraphrasing James Joyce in "rejoyce," the Girl Groups of the Shangrilas and Ronettes. Patti always had a bent towards great pop. "This is the Girl" raises the specter of "We Three," and "Kimberly." The spoken-word section is pure soul music. Back in the day Patti would sometimes do a winsome version of the old Motown hit "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game." The same girl who covered "Partime Paradise" and danced to "The 81" with Lenny at Bleecker Bob's still lives.

A simple acoustic version of Neil Young's "After the Gold Rush" slapped me awake from this audio dream. It's spartan, beautiful, and a fitting end with a children's chorus. Ending the deluxe version of the album is a bonus single "Just Kids." It's a song version paraphrasing her book of the same name. I noted: "keep an eye on this girl."

Funny thing. Kinda like "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon." Patti and I both wrote reviews for Creem back in the day. Now, she's a Pulitzer Prize-winning Poet Laureate for America. I write reviews on Amazon. But neither of us ever stopped writing.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f23b09c) out of 5 stars Pop + Punk + Poetry June 7 2012
By T. A. Daniel - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Patti Smith hasn't released a proper new album since 2004's TRAMPIN'. Her latest release, BANGA finds Smith back in the studio feeling just as comfortable as ever before. The outcome is an album that is both soulful, beautiful, organic, and confident. At the album's best, its a great punk-tinged pop-poetry showcase.

The opening track "Amerigo" is a great, half spoken-word piece about the wonders and excitement of new discovery; similar techniques are used to great effect on "Tarkovsy (the Second Stop is Jupiter)" as well. These songs (and the 10-minute "Constantine's Dream") fuses Smith's pop-sensibilities with her street-poet instincts. Other tracks on the album are a little more forward in convention, though that's not necessarily a bad thing. "This is the Girl" is a poignant and sweet remembrance of the troubled Amy Winehouse; "Nine" rolls through guitar riffs and percussive tribal-like rhythms. Smith's lyrics are just as good as ever, but some of the energy she had feels lost. The track "Banga" has all the right elements: nice guitar riffs, interesting lyrics, good melodies, but it lacks the energy that her earlier work showcased. This energy has been replaced by a warm, wise, soulful mood that pervades the album. BANGA ends with "After the Gold Rush," a great ballad that brings in her children to finish the song for her.

Long time fans of Patti Smith will love BANGA. For new listeners, this album is a good entrance to her catalog, but I would suggest starting with her seminal HORSES. Listeners of Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen will find a lot to like here. Outstanding tracks to sample: "Amerigo," "Banga," and "Constantine's Dream." These songs will give you a good idea what to expect from the album. BANGA is fantastic -- give it a listen whether or not you've listened to Smith before or not.

The deluxe edition of BANGA includes a hardback book that contains photos, lyrics, and liner notes. The liner notes provide a great commentary track for the album and is recommended for long-time fans.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9f23b7bc) out of 5 stars Doesn't Get Better June 8 2012
By Mitch Brenner - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I was lucky enough to see Patti Smith in concert in Detroit on 6/1/12 where she performed several of the songs from BANGA (April Fool, This is the Girl, After the Gold Rush, Just Kids). She was electric in performance (as anyone who's seen her knows) and the initmacy of listening to her on disc only enhances the beauty and intensity of her work. Buy this! The deluxe edition is a work of art physically and aurally!

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