Tuesday, January 28, 2014

So Long, Pete Seeger

Yesterday, folk singer Pete Seeger died at age 94. I heard him perform several times at music festivals in the Hudson Valley of New York state, where he lived. 

That's him in the middle of the group of three faces at the bottom of this sketchbook page. Whenever Pete got up on stage, he always got the audiences caught up in the choruses.

Another way we got to know Pete Seeger was through our tattered copy of his songbook, a collection of classics like "Clementine" and "If I Had a Hammer" that we often sang together at home in the evenings. In 1991, When my son Dan was a four-year-old budding accordion player, he wrote Pete a fan letter, and Pete wrote back on a postcard drawn by Ed Sorel showing Pete with his banjo trying to outrun the Horsemen of Time.

At his concerts, Pete made every person feel that they had a good enough voice and that it was worth joining in. And he made everyone believe that the dream of a peaceful world is possible, not just by dreaming about it, but by singing about it it or painting a picture of it.

More about Pete Seeger at Wikipedia
More about my son Dan at his band website YanksBand.com or his music streaming company ConcertWindow


Steve said...

Pete was a source of light, joy, unwavering principles, and goodness for so many. He inspired me to buy a banjo in 1972. I had his "How to Play 5-String Banjo" book for years. Playing banjo for my 3rd graders and leading them in song was a direct response to Pete's infectious enthusiasm. Dan's postcard is a treasure. You've described his effect on audiences beautifully. Thanks for this post.

Belinda said...

What a beautiful tribute you have given him here. He gave us all so much. I think you will like my fellow Montrealer's cartoon tribute. (Artist "Aislin"-Terry Mosher)

jamie said...

Sweet sketch and how fortunate to have those with the memories.
The first music I ever heard live was at the Fox Hollow folk festivals in New York, which my parents took me along as a little kid to see back in the early seventies, where he always used to play in a pasture out on a farm and everybody would sing along. Still have his how-to albums when I got a Honer 5-string banjo for my fourteenth birthday.
Even just last week, as with every opening lecture, in Beginning Drawing I include him in my personal inspirations, along with images of Julia Child and Carl Sagan etc: as people who’s passion was teaching their craft and skill and making it easily understandable and fun. His is a beautiful voice that will be heard for all history and carry on teaching simple wonder.

Erik Bongers said...

I just learned about the man on a newsitem on Belgian national TV.
Just to say, he's quite international.

John Kaay said...

One of the few people I would call a hero.
I'll miss him.
R. I. P. Pete.

Anonymous said...

I was lucky enough to participate in his last big singalong last year at Farm Aid. At the time it was such a magical experience, and this puts the stamp on how lucky I was to be there.