So today we learned the revered fellow who put the experience of Folksinging back in our lives, Pete Seeger, died at the ripe age of 94. Extraordinarily full life. Seemed he lived somewhere near, challenging the powers that be to treat all of us with respect, and as he produced his music, strings of memories of close, loving times when family and friends sang together in our homes or amphitheaters. He was a great booster of the SING-A-LONG as a joy and an art form.
At a Mt. Tam concert I attended long ago w. 3,000 other people, we all stood to cheer him and believe Joan Baez was there, but Pete was the real star of the day. As a kid, we used to listen to him on the floor in front of the “Hi-Fi” my dad built of parts from Germany and England – the Midnight Special on WFMT was a highlight of our week and often came with fudge and popcorn. Singing with the Weavers (Pete was one) was just part of being our family. Goodnight Irene.
Somebody posted this from NYT today in an email:
Pete Seeger, the singer, folk-song collector and songwriter who spearheaded an American folk revival and spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change, died on Monday in Manhattan…Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10, from college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s).
(me again) I add to that he stood, at age 92, with the Occupy folks in NYC. His music and cooperative attitude (we are all one is close to an expression of that), will continue to influence later generations through his songs, sometimes dark, often funny, always memorable, singable, fine.
There will be a bunch of shows about Pete Seeger now you can bet, and you can find a lot of videos. I reordered Netflix “A Musical Journey” about the period in the 1950s when Pete Seeger traveled all kinds of countries with his Super 8 camera and came away with touching, actually very charming, blurry and silly and wonderful video as he explored humanity. With respect and loads of love. I’ll watch probably three Peter Seeger movies; believe that’s what Netflix lists. He hated war; he loved us, pretty much all of us.
There’s a fine piece by Ben Greenman on the Culture Desk section of New Yorker onlinehttp://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/culture/2014/01/pete-seegers-heavy-folk.html Ends in a YouTube of his Waist Deep in the Big Muddy, a song many believe to be written about Seeger’s disgust with the Vietnam War.