Tag Archive: Pete Seeger

Jan 28 2014

In Memoriam: Pete Seeger 1919 – 2014

Pete Seeger photo seeger_zps241f2f50.jpg

Pete Seeger, Songwriter and Champion of Folk Music, Dies at 94

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 Monday. He was 94 and lived in Beacon, N.Y.

His death was confirmed by his grandson, Kitama Cahill Jackson, who said he died of natural causes at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mr. Seeger’s career carried him from singing at labor rallies to the Top 10 to college auditoriums to folk festivals, and from a conviction for contempt of Congress (after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s) to performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial at an inaugural concert for Barack Obama.

For Mr. Seeger, folk music and a sense of community were inseparable, and where he saw a community, he saw the possibility of political action. [..]

Mr. Seeger’s wife, Toshi, died in 2013, days before the couple’s 70th anniversary. Survivors include his son, Daniel; his daughters, Mika and Tinya; a half-sister, Peggy; and six grandchildren, including the musician Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, who performed with him at the Obama inaugural. His half-brother Mike Seeger, a folklorist and performer who founded the New Lost City Ramblers, died in 2009.

Let the dream live. Blessed be.

Aug 11 2013

Remembering the World’s Indigenous Peoples

August 9th was the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples recognizing the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection. On Friday, Democracy Now!‘s Amy Goodman’s guests were Oren Lyons, faithkeeper of the Onondaga Nation, and member ofthe Onondaga Nation Council of Chiefs; legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger and Andy Mager, project coordinator for the Two Row Wampum Renewal Campaign and a member of Neighbors of the Onondaga Nation, discussing the concerns of their concerns for the future.

Hundreds of Native Americans and their allies arrive in New York City today after paddling more than a hundred miles down the Hudson River to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the first treaty between Native Americans and the Europeans who traveled here. The event is part of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, first proclaimed by the United Nations 20 years ago. [..]

“We’re concerned about the future, we’re concerned about the Earth – seven generations hence – and the conduct of people,” Oren says. “We wonder, how do you instruct seven billion people as to the relationship to the Earth? Because unless they understand that, and relate the way they should be, the future is pretty dim for the human species.”

Transcript can be read here

In Part 2, Pete Seeger and Oren Lyons discuss fracking, indigenous struggles and the atomic bombing of Hiroshima.

The transcript can be read here

In the final segment, Pete Seeger reminisces about his late wife Toshi, and sings the Civil Rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.”

Born in 1919, the 94-year-old Seeger is an American icon. In the 1940s, he performed in The Weavers, along with Woody Guthrie. In the 1950s, he opposed Senator Joseph McCarthy’s witch hunt and was almost jailed for refusing to answer questions before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Seeger helped popularize the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome.” In the 1960s, he was a vocal critic of the Vietnam War and inspired a generation of protest singers. He was later at the center of the environmental and anti-nuclear movements. A month ago today, on July 9, his wife, the artist and filmmaker Toshi Seeger, died at the age of 91. She was a key leader and artistic programmer for the Great Hudson River Revival, the annual fundraiser for the Clearwater organization that helped to clean up the Hudson River in New York. She died less than two weeks short of what would have been the Seegers’ 70th wedding anniversary.

The transcript can be read here


Jan 23 2011

“You Are the Un-Americans, and You Ought to be Ashamed of Yourselves”

Crossposted at Daily Kos and Docudharma

On January 23, 1976, one of the greatest Americans of the twentieth century died a nearly forgotten man in self-imposed seclusion in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  

Over the last three decades or so, you rarely, if ever, hear his name mentioned in the popular media.  Once every few years, you might hear someone on PBS or C-Span remember him fondly and explain as to why he was one of the more important figures of the past century.  In many respects, he had as much moral authority as Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks; he was as politically active as Dick Gregory, Harry Belafonte, John Lewis, and Randall Robinson; and, as befits many men and women motivated by moral considerations, he conducted himself with great dignity.  For much of his life, not surprisingly and not unlike many of his worthy successors, he was marginalized and shunned by the political establishment of his time — until events validated their ‘radical’ beliefs and resurrected their reputations.

Throughout his life, few principled men of his caliber paid as high a price and for as long a period as he did for his political beliefs.

Oct 03 2010

Sunday Secrets from Pete Seeger, “America’s Granddad”

Pete Seeger shares his Sunday routine and some interesting observation and thoughts on life, letters, food and God.

Mr. Seeger, who lives in Beacon Falls with his wife of 67 years, spends his Sundays writing letters and chopping wood around the house that he built, calling Sunday the busiest day of the week. He also spends time at the Beacon Sloop Club which he helped build by tricking people into volunteering: “I called it a pot-luck supper, and 30 people showed up,” he said. “Food is one of the great organizing tools.”

Haven’t we all done that from time to time to get our families to help around the house. Bribery with food as an incentive.

Mr. Seeger isn’t a regular church goer but finds God in the woods.

My family’s not churchgoers, but we use the word God quite often. One of my most recent songs has God in every verse. Every time I’m in the woods, I feel like I’m in church.

On food, he eats healthy keeping down intake of fats, salt and sugar, which probably accounts for his relative good health and longevity.

Sunday breakfast is “a pick up” sometimes cereal and fruit, left-overs from the “ice box” or an indulgence

AN OMELET I met the French wife of a lefty organizer in Canada. She said you start the omelet by putting butter in the pan to get it sizzling. You put in your eggs and whatever, and you immediately put the heat down and the cover on. You don’t wait for it to get cooked; you want it to be liquid in parts. You take it out and turn it over so the brown is on top, and you take it right away to the table so it doesn’t get overcooked. And if you have good cheese, it can be super.

Once a month, there’s a pot-luck supper at the Sloop Club. I usually like some salad, so I made a salad. I like lots of lettuce, myself, but I like lots of onions, too. I’ll put some tomatoes in it. Purslane, if it’s fresh, is quite nice in a salad. Likewise another weed that came over from England, lamb’s quarters. If it’s the right season of the year, that will go on a salad. No two salads are alike. I used to go in for romaine, but now I like better the red-top lettuce. It’s almost a religious thing. I used to cut up my lettuce, but my family said no, a good salad, you break up the lettuce with your fingernails. I go along with my family. I like lots of color. Red peppers and yellow peppers.

His instructions for cooking corn on the cob, a couple of ears in boiling water for two minutes and not let the water temperature drop, is a “trick” he just learned.

I found his use of a rolling pin to reduce the swelling in his legs a neat idea. I learn something new every day.

I have to use a rolling pin on my legs because they swell up now. I promised the doctor I’d use a rolling pin to roll on my upper leg to pull the blood back up. It’s not painful at all, but it’s a nuisance. I’m in better condition than most people my age. I think because we don’t eat so much fat or salt or sugar.

But of all the “Secrets” that this lefty, anti- war activist, environmentalist, folk singing elder statesman shared, the most important one was this:

It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.

We don’t have to agree but we need to keep communicating.