The Jan. 27 death of Pete Seeger, the 94-year-old folk singer/songwriter icon and longtime champion for social change, may have stirred many people to hum a few bars of his well-known tunes such as: “If I Had a Hammer,” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” or “We Shall Overcome.”
Folk singer Pete Seeger performs in 1985 at a Catholic Campaign for Human Development conference in Minnesota. (CNS file photo/Sister Nancy Bauer, OSB)
Here at CNS it got us looking through our archives, which contained this 1970 interview (below) with Seeger who spoke to reporter John Sullivan — back when CNS was called NC News — on a park bench on the National Mall in Washington. The story was part of a series titled “Dateline: U.S.A.” the news service was doing in those years. Seeger wasn’t a Catholic but he was in town as part of the Smithsonian’s Folklife Festival, which then and now offers a look at the many ethnicities, folkways and cultures that make up U.S. society. In his story, though, Sullivan highlights how Seeger had recently calmed another singer — who was attacking Catholic legislators – by singing a New England Irish Catholic protest song: “No Irish Need Apply.”
(Editors: This is the second article in NC’s continuing series: DATELINE U.S.A)
PETE SEEGER –‘Boxes’ don’t help people
By John R. Sullivan
(NC News Service)
WASHINGTON (NC) — He lives in a log cabin his family and friends helped build.
He wears jeans, old shirts, old sweaters, work shoes and drives an old station wagon. His traveling entourage usually consists of his wife, Toshi, and his younger daughter, Tinya
When strangers recognize him, he smiles awkwardly, mumbles his thanks and, as if wondering what to say next, ambles away.
He doesn’t have a press agent.
And that, believe it or not, is Pete Seeger, the man who, at 51, is helping young America rediscover — for at least the third time — the country’s folk music tradition.
It’s an unlikely portrait of a man whose 25-year career includes thousands of concerts, the formation of an immensely popular singing group (The Weavers), sales of several million recordings, the recording of probably 100 albums.
But then, Seeger is a man of many apparent contradictions: his father, Dr. Charles Louis Seeger, is a musicologist, conductor and educator at UCLA: Pete. a Harvard drop-out, is a banjo-picker. He volunteered for the Army in World War II, entertained troops and campaigned with the rest of America against (Read More)