March 24th, 2008

harp

Pete Seeger: The Power of Song

Last night we watched our Tivoed American Masters episode on Pete Seeger. It was most enjoyable and was a pretty good history lesson. This guy is a great example of a person who always stood up for what he believed and really did use the power of song to get people involved in issues. He's always been very direct and humble. I was thinking as I watched it that he should have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize

His own reply to being asked
What do you think of the new documentary?
Well, it’s too much a eulogy if you ask me. It didn’t tell all the stupid things I’ve done. I’ve done hundreds of stupid things.

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When I was in about 5th grade at a middle school assembly (~1949) this unknown folk singer came to school and sung. His brother, John Seeger, was the geography teacher at school so that was the connection. John was a great teacher - later went on to be a principal and he ran a summer camp to which I went and later was a councillor there. Pete did visit the camp once; his kids, Dan and Mika, who are on the film went there while I was working there. Needless to say there was lots of folk singing at this camp and I did buy a banjo and learned to play it using Pete's book How to Play the 5-string banjo. I still have the book and the banjo - the neck is a bit warped and I haven't touched it in years.

I did visit his house in Beacon once - he wasn't there, but a friend of mine (co-councillor and banjo player) was house sitting.