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Pete Seeger has passed

I don't know how to explain what Pete Seeger meant to my generation, to the Left of the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s, to folk music, to world music, to the resistance to the House Un-American Activities Committee and their witchhunts . . . He was a giant.

I learned his "If I Had a Hammer" and "Good Night, Irene" in 5th grade. I sang along with "Turn! Turn! Turn!" and "Wimowe." I listened to him play with Peter, Paul, and Mary and the Weavers. He had so much passion and joie de vivre when he sang, whether he was thirty or eighty. The only good thing about his passing is that I know he's found his old pal Woody Guthrie in the Summerlands at last, and that they're jamming together right now.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 28th, 2014 07:03 pm (UTC)
He had so much passion and joie de vivre when he sang, whether he was thirty or eighty. He really really did. Great long life and all, I'm feeling like the world is a little less shiny without him in it.
Jan. 28th, 2014 07:51 pm (UTC)
I was saddened and gladdened to hear of his passing as well. I've known his music since preschool in the 1970s; we would beg our guitar playing teacher to play "Little Boxes" over and over. So I played it this morning for my guitar practice.
Jan. 28th, 2014 08:37 pm (UTC)
Not just Woody Guthrie - I'm imagining a reunion of the Almanac Singers.
Jan. 28th, 2014 08:51 pm (UTC)
He was one of the greats. I dated a guy years ago who played guitar and banjo, and spent some time on the Clearwater Sloop with Pete Seeger. It sounded so magical...
Jan. 29th, 2014 12:51 am (UTC)
What I posted this AM:
I cried this morning when I realized Pete Seeger had died.
When I was in High School our gym teacher, Lydia Murray (Miss Murray to me), invited Pete Seeger to sing at our Girls Athletic Association Banquet. It was in a rather small room, set with tables, with a sort of platform on one end.
Pete Seeger brought a stump with him.
I may have been 12 feet from him. He sang with no mike and he sang loud. He whanged on the stump with a sledge hammer while he sang a work song. He sang sweet songs, angry protest songs, work songs, spirituals. He was beautiful. His voice was stunning. He made us feel alive and full of hope.
This was in about 1959. What I did not realize at the time was how brave Miss Murray was to invite him after all he'd been through with the House Un-American Activities Committee.
I have loved that man ever since. Love his music. Love his activism. He got the cleanup of the Hudson River started...
He will be missed.
Jan. 29th, 2014 02:22 am (UTC)
His is one of the first singing voices I can consciously remember hearing other than my mother, and she taught so many of his and Woody's songs to my classes when my school district cut the music programs. I grew up hearing his recordings and those of the Weavers and Joan Baez and Odetta and Woody Guthrie (on records, which definitely hints at my age) and am glad I got to see him live and meet him once in my life.
Jan. 29th, 2014 08:47 am (UTC)
I was born in the early 80s, but I have hardly stopped crying since I heard the news of his passing last night. I sang his songs to my friends today and told them about one of the best dreams I ever had--in which I met Pete Seeger at a music festival and we sang "If I Had A Hammer" together.

My mom, who gave me my love of music, told me after I sang that "Pete is smiling" somewhere. Then, because it is the internet, a stranger came along and said "Somewhere Pete is singing for Mao and Stalin." And thank the gods for all I've learned from Pete and my mom and so many others about how to kill with kindness, because otherwise I would have punched a hole in my monitor.

But if I've learned anything from my heroes, it is that hate and ignorance will never win. As relentless as they are, love is stronger and its patience will outlast the evils of the world. So I will remember my lessons, choose love and let go of the rest. And I am so grateful that we will always have Pete's music.
Jan. 29th, 2014 03:03 pm (UTC)
And Mary Travers is singing the harmony with Woody and Pete.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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