Join us as we explore the folk music of the world through the eyes and ears of the late, great Pete Seeger.
The life and work of Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. He was a key figure in the folk music revival of the 1940s and 1950s and was instrumental in popularizing folk music in the United States. His songs included “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?”, “Turn, Turn, Turn”, and “We Shall Overcome”. He also wrote “The Ballad of Tom Joad”, based on John Steinbeck’s novel The Grapes of Wrath.
Seeger was born in New York City in 1919 to Quaker parents with a strong social conscience. He began his musical career playing banjo and singing with Woody Guthrie and Lead Belly in the 1940s. He went on to form the folk group The Weavers, who had several hit records in the 1950s. In the 1960s, Seeger became involved in the civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam War protests. He was blacklisted during the McCarthy era for his political beliefs.
In addition to his musical career, Seeger was a tireless advocate for social justice. He campaigned for labor rights, civil rights, nuclear disarmament, and environmental causes. He was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1996 and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in 1993. He continued to perform and record until his death in 2014 at the age of 94.
The folk music of the United States
The folk music of the United States is varied and rich, with roots in the songs and dances brought over by British and Irish settlers in the 1600s. American folk music has since been shaped by many different cultures, making it a truly unique form of expression.
Pete Seeger is one of the most influential folk musicians of the 20th century. His work with The Weavers in the 1950s helped to popularize folk music, and his songs have been covered by some of the most famous musicians in the world. Seeger’s commitment to social justice and peace is evident in his music, which continues to inspire new generations of folk musicians.
The folk music of Europe
Pete Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. He was a member of the Communist Party and an outspoken critic of the Vietnam War. Seeger was also a major force in the revival of American folk music in the 1950s and 1960s. He is best known for his song “We Shall Overcome,” which became an anthem of the civil rights movement.
Seeger was born in New York City in 1919 to a family of musicians. His father, Charles Seeger, was a musicologist who wrote influential books on American folk music. His mother, Constance de Clyver Seeger, was a concert pianist. Pete Seeger’s half-brother, Mike Seeger, was also a folk musician and founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers.
Pete Seeger began playing the banjo at an early age and later learned to play the guitar and 5-string banjo. He attended college at Harvard University but did not graduate. In 1940, he traveled to Europe to study folk music. While there, he met Woody Guthrie, an American folk singer who would have a major influence on his career.
In 1941, Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie founded the Almanac Singers, a group that performed songs about social justice and labor rights. The group’s most famous song was “Which Side Are You On?,” which became an anthem of the American labor movement. The Almanac Singers disbanded in 1943, but Pete Seeger continued to perform as a solo artist and with various groups throughout his career.
In 1955, he helped organize the Newport Folk Festival, which became one of the most important events in the American folk music scene. In 1961, he co-founded The Weavers, a group that had several hit records in the early 1960s with songs like “On Top of Old Smokey” and “If I Had a Hammer.” The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy era because of their political beliefs, but they continued to perform and record together until 1968.
Pete Seeger continued to perform and record throughout his life. In 2009, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to American music. He died in 2014 at the age of 94.
The folk music of Asia
The folk music of Asia is incredibly diverse, with different countries and regions having their own unique styles and traditions. One of the most well-known and influential Asian folk musicians is Pete Seeger, who was born in the United States but spent much of his life living in China, Japan, and other parts of Asia. Seeger’s work was instrumental in bringing Asian folk music to the mainstream Western world, and he is credited with popularizing such genres as Japanese taiko drumming and Chinese erhu music.
The folk music of Africa
Pete Seeger, an American folk singer and social activist, popularized the folk music of the United States and the world. He was born into a family of musicians and traveled extensively, learning the music of different cultures. One of his strongest influences was the music of Africa.
In the late 1950s, Seeger became interested in the work of Nigerian musician Fela Ransome-Kuti, who was fusing traditional Yoruba music with jazz and highlife. Ransome-Kuti’s band, Koola Lobitos, played a style of music that Seeger described as “serious dancing music.” He was also impressed by the work of South African musician Hugh Masekela, who was fusing traditional South African music with jazz.
Seeger incorporated elements of African music into his own work, including call-and-response singing and percussion instruments such as djembes and congas. He also helped to popularize African musicians in the United States by performing their songs on his radio show and including them in his concerts.
The folk music of Latin America
The folk music of Latin America is incredibly varied, with each country having its own unique styles and traditions. Pete Seeger, an American folk singer and songwriter, was one of the first to bring Latin American folk music to the United States. He traveled throughout Latin America in the 1950s and 1960s, collecting songs and learning about the different cultures. He recorded several albums of Latin American folk music, including “The Folk Music of the World: Pete Seeger” (1961) and “The Folk Songs of Mexico” (1965). In addition to his work as a performer, Seeger was also a passionate advocate for social justice and helped to raise awareness of the struggles faced by Latin American countries.
The folk music of Australia and New Zealand
Pete Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. He was a key figure in the development of the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s. Seeger also wrote some of the most well-known protest songs of that era, including “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” and “Turn! Turn! Turn!” Seeger’s music was deeply influential on the folk music of Australia and New Zealand. In fact, many of the leading performers and songwriters in those countries trace their musical lineage back to Seeger.
Some of the most popular folk musicians in Australia and New Zealand have been inspired by Pete Seeger’s music, including Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul & Mary. These artists have all helped to spread the message of peace and social justice through their music. Pete Seeger’s legacy continues to live on in the folk music of Australia and New Zealand.
The folk music of the Middle East
Pete Seeger was an American folk singer and social activist. He was a member of the Weavers, one of the most successful folk groups of the 1950s. His best-known songs include “Turn! Turn! Turn! (To Everything There Is a Season),” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?,” and “If I Had a Hammer (The Hammer Song).”
Seeger’s father, Charles Louis Seeger Jr., was a professor at Columbia University and his mother, Constance de Clyver Edson Seeger, was a violinist. His stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, was a noted composer. His half-brother Mike Seeger was also a folk musician.
Pete Seeger grew up in New York City and attended Avon Old Farms School in Connecticut. He later enrolled at Harvard University but dropped out after one year to join the U.S. Army during World War II. Following his discharge from the army, he moved to New York’s Greenwich Village and became involved in the American folk music scene.
In 1949, he co-founded the Weavers with Lee Hays, Ronnie Gilbert, and Fred Hellerman. The group had several hits including “On Top of Old Smokey” and “Kisses Sweeter than Wine.” They were blacklisted during the McCarthy era for their political beliefs but continued to perform and record together until 1964.
In the 1960s, Pete Seeger became an active voice in the American civil rights movement and anti-Vietnam War movement. He wrote or co-wrote several protest songs including “We Shall Overcome” and “Give Peace a Chance.” In 1966, he was convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions about his political beliefs but his conviction was later overturned on appeal.
In addition to his work as a musician and social activist, Pete Seeger was also an environmentalist and helped found the Hudson River Sloop Clearwater which works to clean up and protect the Hudson River. He continued to perform and record into his 90s; his final album, A More Perfect Union ,was released in 2014 shortly before his death at the age of 94.
The folk music of the world’s oceans
In this video, folk singer Pete Seeger talks about the folk music of the world’s oceans. He sings two songs, “The Ballad of the whistleblowers” and “The Erie Canal”, and discusses how they were inspired by the music of different cultures.
The future of folk music
The future of folk music is often said to be in good hands with artists such as Pete Seeger. Seeger is one of the most accomplished and respected musicians of our time. His work with The Weavers in the 1950s helped to spearhead the folk music revival in the United States. His songs have been covered by some of the most popular recording artists of our time including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, and Peter, Paul & Mary.
Keyword: The Folk Music of the World: Pete Seeger