Pete Seeger to perform
'Music of the Movements' at URI
KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 28, 2000 -- Legendary folk musician Pete Seeger
will present "Music of the Movements" on Tuesday, December
5 at 8 p.m. at the University of Rhode Island. His appearance concludes
URI's Honors Colloquium series "Nonviolence: Legacies of the Past,
Bridges to the Future." With his grandson Tao Rodriguez, Seeger will
lead the audience in an evening of songs and stories. The event, free and
open to the public, will be held in URI's Fine Arts Recital Hall.
Seating will be on first come, first served basis.
Musicians from the URI community, including Stephen Wood from Communications
Studies, Stephen Myles from the Counseling Center, Paul deMesquita from
Psychology, Bernard LaFayette from the Center for Nonviolence and Peace
Studies, the URI Traditional Jazz Band directed by Gary Buttery and the
Honors Jazz Combo directed by Joe Parillo will also present songs of the
civil rights and other movements. Popular Rhode Island singer Joyce Katzberg
will also lend her voice.
Seeger is best known for songs he has written or helped to write including
"Where Have All The Flowers Gone," "Turn, Turn, Turn,"
and "If I Had A Hammer." Songs he adapted and introduced such
as "Guantanamera" and "We Shall Overcome" are now known
In his 60 years of singing in schools, camps, and colleges, for unions,
peace rallies and civil rights marches, he has sung a wide range of old
songs, getting him a reputation as a "folksinger," a label he
says he doesn't like today. "People forget there's as many different
kinds of folk songs as there are different kinds of folks. Blues and gospel
music are basically African-American folk songs. There's 4,000 spoken languages
in the world, and probably several times that many different kinds of folk
Seeger considers that his most important musical job has been introducing
songs of people he knew in his youth, such as Huddie Ledbetter ("Goodnight
Irene" and "Rock Island Line"), Woody Guthrie "This
Land is Your Land"), and Malvina Reynolds ("Little Boxes")
to audiences around the world.
Seeger and his wife, Toshi, have lived 51 years on a mountainside 60
miles north of New York City, in a house they built themselves. They are
known in the Hudson Valley for having helped start the Clearwater organization,
a mainly volunteer group, which sails a 106-foot traditional sailboat on
the Hudson River. It introduces tens of thousands of school children every
year to problems of pollution. Today, much of the Hudson is safe to swim
again, thanks partly to the Clearwater.
Grandson Tao Rodriguez grew up in Nicaragua. The pair will bring some
Latin traditions to the evening such as "Solo Le Pido a Dios"
(Argentina), "Monon" (Puerto Rico), and "De Colores"
Seeger claims his voice is 90 percent gone. His grandson now sings the
high part in "Wimoweh" (The Lion Sleeps Tonight) which Seeger
introduced 52 years ago. The song was a top-40 hit when he sang it with
the Weavers. "I'm mainly a song leader now, as I was for 3 1/2 years
during World War II," he says. "I'm happiest if I get a crowd
singing so loud that they don't even hear me."
Many of Seeger's recordings have been reissued as tapes and CD's. The
Grammy winner has also authored or co-authored books including "American
Favorite Ballads," "Carry It On" (union songs), and "Everybody
Says Freedom" (civil rights songs). His work with Sing Out Magazine
has acquainted Americans with a wide variety of songs. Seeger's self-published
"How To Play The Five String Banjo" is his long-time bestseller.
"Pete Seeger's Storytelling Book" was published this fall.
Seeger's 1993 musical autobiography "Where Have All The Flowers
Gone" contains 200 songs and melodies.
In 1994, Seeger received the N.E.A. National Medal of Arts and was a
recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. This surprised many people who know
that Seeger had been sentenced to a year in jail for not cooperating with
the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955. However, times have
changed and Seeger is still singing, often for the grandchildren of those
he sang for a half-century ago.
For Information: Art Stein, 874-4059,
Jan Sawyer, 874-2116