Legendary folk singer, activist and icon to those that believe and fight for peace, justice, and good music, Pete Seeger passed away today at the age of 94. It's difficult to sum up a career that encompassed the better part of a century, guided some of the greatest songwriters of the 60s and 70s, and, until his death, continued to join in marches and other non-violent resistance working toward the utopian world that he dreamed of. Seeger's contributions to folk music include the seminal "Turn, Turn, Turn" and "Where Have all the Flowers Gone?" But beyond on that, it was through Seeger's voice and banjo that he kept alive centuries of folk. Seeger's father was an ethnomusicologist and Seeger was a living embodiment of the commitment to the music and the people of the United States. Because, it's through music that our despair, heartbreak, joy, resistance, languished cries, and cries of freedom are given voice and heard.
Seeger's path wasn't easy, though. in the 1960s, he was being persecuted by the House Un-American Activities for his politics. But, Seeger carried on, performing for communities and at schools. In 2012, Smithsonian Folkways, released a concert from this era, which Seeger performed at Bowdoin College in Maine. The concert is a document to a particular time but speaks through to today as Seeger's (as he described it) "homemade honesty" comes shining through.
Listen to the whole concert on Spotify below:
The world just got one step further away from utopia today. Rest in peace, Pete.