Author Topic: Pete Seeger  (Read 104 times)

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Offline Quesi

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Pete Seeger
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:06:50 AM »
Today one of my favorite artists of all time, died at age 94.

I have had the honor of seeing Pete Seeger perform many times.  As a child, my parents took me to see him perform with Arlo Guthrie.   I saw him at festivals as a teen, and as a young woman.  When he was 89, I took my baby daughter to see him at Lincoln Center.  I was certain that it would be the last time.  But it was not.  In the spring of 2012, I snapped this photo of a 93 year old Pete Seeger hanging out at the children's stage at the Clearwater Music Festival.  And I saw him perform there again in the spring of 2013.   



Pete Seeger has been part of my life, all of my life. 

He was a man of great integrity.  He music created a portrait of our society, and he never hesitated to celebrate what was beautiful, and to criticize what was wrong.  He used his art to challenge racism, the oppression of women, wage inequity, abuse of immigrants, the pollution of the Hudson River, blind patriotism, and dozens of other inequities that he witnessed over his lifetime.  He influenced everyone from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen, but never let anyone forget that all great American music was rooted in the art created by the black musicians who were not, at the beginning of his career, to even sit in the same music hall as white musicians. 

In spite of the fact that he famously put Biblical passage to music (Turn, Turn, Turn), he identified most of his life as an atheist.  In a recent interview, he made a more ambiguous statement:

I feel most spiritual when I’m out in the woods. I feel part of nature. Or looking up at the stars. [I used to say] I was an atheist. Now I say, it’s all according to your definition of God. According to my definition of God, I’m not an atheist. Because I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I’m looking at God. Whenever I’m listening to something I’m listening to God.

I’ve had preachers of the gospel, Presbyterians and Methodists, saying, “Pete, I feel that you are a very spiritual person.” And maybe I am. I feel strongly that I’m trying to raise people’s spirits to get together.


I'm home from work with a sick kid today, listening to Pete Seeger.  And I'll be sharing some of my favorite songs.

Here is a piece recorded a half a century ago:


Offline Quesi

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Re: Pete Seeger
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2014, 08:15:11 AM »
Here is one written by his sister, which creates a portrait of a world that, thankfully, was not the world I grew up in.   




And here is an ancient piece, recorded 64 years ago.




And a lifetime later, performing at Obama's first inauguration.



Edited to add:  If you grew up in the US, and sang this song as a kid, you'll be surprised by some of the verses, which had been banned from our childhood campfires.  But he included them here. 
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 08:17:10 AM by Quesi »

Offline LoriPinkAngel

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Re: Pete Seeger
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2014, 01:30:38 PM »
A very talented and nice man.  I actually found myself on the same train with him once.  It was shortly after he lost his wife.  Another passenger recognized him as he was disembarking.  He gracefully acknowledged the man who interrupted him to speak to him and compliment him.  I could see the familiar sadness I have seen so many times before in geriatric patients who have lost the love of their life.  I wondered then if he was not long for this world.  I told my son "You have just seen a legend."

http://www.salon.com/2014/01/28/remembering_pete_seeger/

It doesn't make sense to let go of something you've had for so long.  But it also doesn't make sense to hold on when there's actually nothing there.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Pete Seeger
« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2014, 03:03:47 PM »
What a wonderful story Lori.  Yeah.  He rode the trains back and forth from his upstate home, to performances at Carnegie Hall or protests at Zuccotti Park or just to visit friends.  I am pleased to hear that even in his last year of life, he was just riding the trains and going places. 

His grandson said he was chopping wood ten days ago. 

I mourned the death of his Toshi Seeger last year.  And suspected that he did not have much time left.  She died just days before their 70th wedding anniversary.  I don't think that anyone has the strength to just start over after 70 years.

 

Offline shnozzola

Re: Pete Seeger
« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2014, 05:26:12 PM »
Quote
Pete Seeger still stands on a street corner of his town in upstate New York, holding up a sign that says “Peace,” and people still drive by wondering why one person thinks he can change the world.



Pete originally sang this song on The Smothers Brothers show in 1967.  He hadn't been allowed on TV the decade before.  CBS censored the performance:

Quote
............he was allowed back to sing it again. He set the audience up with 4 minutes of traditional folk music considered acceptable, and then hit them with one of the most powerful — if forgotten — moments in the history of television.

http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/2014/01/pete-seeger-and-the-meaning-of-patriotism/
« Last Edit: January 28, 2014, 05:37:55 PM by shnozzola »
The irony is with freewill.  Atheism realizes we don't have it, while the fundamentals of theism demand it but don't want it.

Offline Quesi

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Re: Pete Seeger
« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2014, 05:51:06 PM »
Some random images from his long and wonderful life.  I'm betting no one else on planet earth spent time in the company of both Eleanor Roosevelt and Barack Obama. 

With Eleanor Roosevelt (and a mixed race crowd) in 1944:


With Woody Guthrie:


With Martin Luther King:


Testifying (or failing to provide testimony) to the House UnAmerican Activities Committee:


With a ridiculously young Bob Dylan:


With Arlo Guthrie:



With Bruce Springsteen at Obama's inauguration:



At Occupy Wall Street:


By the banks of his beloved Hudson River: