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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

"If other people are there, they sing along." A Tribute to Pete Seeger (1919 - 2014)

Pete Seeger (1919 - 2014) died last night. Arguably one of the four greatest Americans of the twentieth century, his work will continue to inspire and energize citizens and listeners as long as people anywhere are brave enough to raise their voices. Pete Seeger demonstrated that singing out is an act of courage. That's because it's a form of speech, able at the same time to be radically individual and completely inclusive. To sample the kind of independence Pete Seeger exemplified, you need only read the transcript of his appearance before the House Un-American Activities Committee, an assembly of men whose inquisitorial meanness rivaled their contemporaries in fascist Germany and the Soviet Union and whose counterparts may still be heard today ranting and fuming against openness and change. When the committee attempted repeatedly to indict him on charges of inciting and organizing protests, Pete Seeger just kept replying, "I just show up and sing. If other people are there, they sing along." Look at the picture of Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen performing "This Land is Your Land" at President Obama's 2009 Inaugural. Pete is singing out, and he's looking at Bruce. That's what I mean.


Blogger Susie Bright said...

I know! Jon and I went downtown to sing too, and we looked at each other... just like that.

4:21 PM  

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