Pete Seeger, the legend folk songwriter and social activist, died yesterday - of natural causes - at the New York - Presbyterian Hospital at the ripe old age of 94. He had been living an active life right up until ten days ago when he was chopping wood in Beacon, New York where he resided.
Folk music and bringing people together in community were inseparable for Seeger, and he had that ability to bring people together and inspire them to take political action. He was active in this way throughout his life, beginning with his childhood, when his father Charles Lewis Seeger and composer stepmother, Ruth Crawford Seeger, were musicians who collected, transcribed, and played rural American folk music at open-air concerts. Pete, as a youngster, would accompany them and no doubt discovered his love and the power of music at a very early age.
In the 50's he gained popular success with the Weavers, an American folk music group, and helped to transform popular music in that era. He served as a mentor to some of the up and coming young singers of the time, such as Bob Dylan, Don McLean, and Bernice Johnson Reagon, founder of Sweet Honey and the Rock. Seeger recorded over 100 albums, but was never comfortable with commercialism or stardom; and he would always do his best to use his celebrity status to bring attention to the causes that inspired him and to the traditional songs he was moved to preserve. Some of the folk songs Seeger is particularly known for are: "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" (an anti-war standard), "Goodnight, Irene," "If I Had a Hammer," "This Land Is Your Land" (Woodie Guthrie's song), and "We Shall Overcome." In 2009 Seeger said about himself and his calling in life: “My job is to show folks there’s a lot of good music in this world, and if used right it may help to save the planet.”
Pete Seeger kept singing and participating in the causes for justice he was so passionate about into this century, despite his aging voice. His audiences just kept singing along, only more loudly now. And through all of his years, Mr. Seeger always remained remarkably optimistic. Back in 1994 he remarked, “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known.”
You will be deeply missed Mr. Seeger. But your Circle of Songs will Ring on! Thank you for blessing our lives with your music and dedication to help make this world a better place.
To our Health, Wealth, and Appreciation of the Power and Love of Folk Music, Dancing heart~~~~