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A Belated Happy Birthday

Posted by purplemary54 on May 5, 2013

Last Friday, while I was a bit too absorbed with death, I forgot that it was Pete Seeger’s 90th birthday.  Life is so much better than death, and Pete Seeger has given so much of his life to entertaining and educating his audiences.  He advocates for those who do not have a voice because those in power refuse to let them speak; he is their voice.  Seeger refuses to stand for injustice, and he fights it with one of the most powerful weapons around: music.

When I was a kid, PBS aired a concert by Pete Seeger and his dear friend Arlo Guthrie.  Their shows are sort of legendary among folkies.  They got together, usually with a band of friends and fellow travelers, and performed classic folk tunes, trading lead vocals back and forth like a tennis ball.  It was like a huge campfire sing-along.  My mother videotaped it, and watched the tape until it began to wear out.  (She has made it very clear that she wants their version of “Amazing Grace” played at her funeral.)  It was my first real introduction to both singers.  I was probably about 11, and though I’d heard both the names many times, I really didn’t know anything about their music.  I was enchanted.

I still sing this song under my breath sometimes, often for no reason at all.  It’s just one of those songs that sticks in my head.  This clip is from that PBS concert, and although the picture and sound quality are poor, it shows just how warm and welcoming that show was.  Pete Seeger is such a gently commanding presence on stage.  I wish him a belated happy birthday, and my thanks for sharing so much lovely music with all of us.


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