Pete Seeger R.I.P.

Written by  //  January 28, 2014  //  Arts and culture  //  No comments

pete_seeger_obitFolk Singer and Activist Pete Seeger Dead at 94
(ABC) Legendary folk singer and activist Pete Seeger has died at age 94.
Seeger’s record label, Appleseed Recordings, released a statement to ABC News confirming his death.
“Nobody is truly gone until all those who are touched or influenced by that person are gone,” Appleseed founder Jim Musselman said in the statement. “So he will live on in the hearts and minds of so many for years to come.”
… Songs, he once said, are weapons, a sentiment spelled out on his banjo, which read, “This machine surrounds hate and forces it to surrender.”
Seeger did not surrender, continuing as a singer-activist into his later years. Fellow musician Bruce Springsteen said Seeger reawakened “the lost voices” in America.
His latest albums, “A More Perfect Union” and “Pete Remembers Woody,” were released in 2012. He was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame three years later.

Folk music pioneer and life-long activist Pete Seeger dies at 94
Pete Seeger was a driving force behind folk music, influencing musicians from Bob Dylan to Bruce Springsteen. But his own goal was to use his music to influence political change.
(PBS) In Rolling Stone’s obituary of Seeger, David Browne describes him as “a walking, talking, strumming embodiment of the connection between folk song and leftist politics. Throughout his career, he participated in pro-union and civil rights events and protested wars and nuclear power.”
Check out Art Beat for more on Pete Seeger’s life and legacy. You’ll find performances as well as memories from close friends who were inspired by the legendary folksinger.

The lengthy obituary in the Globe & Mail also emphasizes the importance of enviironmental activism in Pete Seeger’s life
Pete Seeger, songwriter and champion of folk music, dies at 94
(Globe & Mail) During the late 1960s Seeger started an improbable project: a sailing ship that would crusade for cleaner water on the Hudson River. Between other benefit concerts he raised money to build the Clearwater, a 106-foot sloop that was launched in June 1969 with a crew of musicians. The ship became a symbol and a rallying point for antipollution efforts and education.
In May 2009, after decades of litigation and environmental activism led by Seeger’s nonprofit environmental organization, Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, General Electric began dredging sediment containing PCBs it had dumped into the Hudson. Seeger and his wife also helped organize a yearly summer folk festival named after the Clearwater.
Pete Seeger: America’s celebrated folk music troubador
(AFP) A rail-thin New York radical who loved folk music, Pete Seeger loathed the business side and stuck by his principles, influencing younger stars like Bob Dylan, Joan Baez and Bruce Springsteen.
Dubbed “America’s tuning fork” by poet Carl Sandburg, the bald and bearded banjo-playing tenor brought a feast of material to US musical culture.
Seeger adapted a Negro spiritual for the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome” and a passage from the book of Ecclesiastes for the Byrds hit “Turn! Turn! Turn!”
In 2009, Seeger performed at a concert in honor of Barack Obama’s inauguration, and on Wednesday, the US president paid tribute to the celebrated troubador. …
Seeger began a solo career, was a founder in 1959 of the Newport Folk Festival and was active in the 1960s civil rights and anti-war movements, marching alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
He became an icon on college campuses, and at a Madison Square Garden concert celebrating Seeger’s 90th birthday, Springsteen called him “a living archive of America’s music and conscience, a testament of the power of song and culture to nudge history along.”
Seeger and Springsteen also played Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land” in 2009 a day before Obama’s inauguration, at a Lincoln Memorial event attended by the president-elect.
Seeger penned more than 100 songs including some for children, and became active in the environmental movement, highlighting pollution of the Hudson River which runs past the New York home he built himself.
In 1966, Seeger founded the Clearwater organization to work for the river’s clean-up. A Clearwater festival raised money for the construction of a boat modeled after the Dutch windships that once sailed the Hudson.

Pete Seeger dead: folk singer and activist dies at 94Aislin Pete Seeger
Seeger became famous as a member of The Weavers quartet, formed in 1948
(CBC) Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died Monday at the age of 94.
Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson​ said his grandfather died at New York Presbyterian Hospital, where he’d been for six days. “He was chopping wood 10 days ago,” he said.

Seeger — with his a lanky frame, banjo and full white beard — was an iconic figure in folk music. He performed with the great minstrel Woody Guthrie in his younger days and marched with Occupy Wall Street protesters in his 90s, leaning on two canes. He wrote or co-wrote If I Had a Hammer, Turn, Turn, TurnWhere Have All the Flowers Gone and Kisses Sweeter Than Wine. He lent his voice against Hitler and nuclear power. A cheerful warrior, he typically delivered his broadsides with an affable air and his banjo strapped on.
“Be wary of great leaders,” he told The Associated Press two days after a 2011 Manhattan Occupy march. “Hope that there are many, many small leaders.”
With the Weavers, a quartet organized in 1948, Seeger helped set the stage for a national folk revival. The group — Seeger, Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert and Fred Hellerman — churned out hit recordings of Goodnight Irene, Tzena, Tzena and On Top of Old Smokey.
Seeger also was credited with popularizing We Shall Overcome, which he printed in his publication People’s Song, in 1948. He later said his only contribution to the anthem of the civil rights movement was changing the second word from “will” to “shall,” which he said “opens up the mouth better.”
“Every kid who ever sat around a campfire singing an old song is indebted in some way to Pete Seeger,” Arlo Guthrie once said.
His musical career was always braided tightly with his political activism, in which he advocated for causes ranging from civil rights to the cleanup of his beloved Hudson River. Seeger said he left the Communist Party around 1950 and later renounced it. But the association dogged him for years.

Legendary folk singer Pete Seeger dies at 94
(CNN) — Pete Seeger, the man considered to be one of the pioneers of contemporary folk music who inspired legions of activist singer-songwriters, died Monday.
He was 94.
Seeger’s best known songs include “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season)” and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song).”
But his influence extended far beyond individual hits.
His grandson Kitama Cahill Jackson told CNN that the singer died of natural causes at New York Presbyterian Hospital on Monday evening.
Familiar with controversy
In a career spanning more than 70 years, Seeger frequently courted controversy.
“He lived at a time when so many things hadn’t been done yet, the idea of making music about something hadn’t really been done,” Jackson said. “And now people do it all the time.”
Seeger’s opinions didn’t always sit well with authorities.
“From the start, he aspired to use folk music to promote his left-wing political views, and in times of national turmoil that brought him into direct confrontation with the U.S. government, corporate interests, and people who did not share his beliefs,” William Ruhlmann wrote in a biography on allmusic.com. “These conflicts shaped his career.”
Early career
In 2009, Seeger talked to CNN about the beginnings of his music career in the late 1930s.
“I come from a family of teachers, and I was looking for a job on a newspaper and not getting one,” he said in the interview. “I had an aunt who said, ‘Peter, I can get five dollars for you if you come and sing some of your songs in my class.’ Five dollars? In 1939, you would have to work all day or two days to make five dollars. It seemed like stealing.”
But Seeger said he took his aunt up on the offer.
“Pretty soon I was playing school after school, and I never did work on a newspaper,” he said “You don’t have to play at nightclubs, you don’t have to play on TV, just go from college to college to college, and the kids will sing along with you.”
Last days
Jackson, Seeger’s grandson, said the singer-songwriter had heart surgery in December to replace a valve, which had gone well and had nothing to do with his death.
He said Seeger was in the hospital for six days before his death.
He couldn’t speak for the last three days, Jackson said, but his mind never went away and he continued to recognize people.
“He was a second father to me, he was a friend, he was a best friend,” Jackson said. “He was just this wonderful, genuine person.”

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