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[Xmca-l] Re: Pete Seeger



Yes, thanks to Peter and Robert for adding this background.

This is the context that's missing from "Inside Llewyn Davis", the new
Coen brother movie about a folk singer in the 1960's.

Helena Worthen

On 1/28/14 9:06 AM, "Robert Lake" <boblake@georgiasouthern.edu> wrote:

>Thanks for adding this Peter. I love what Seeger said when brought before
>congress in 1955.
>Again from today's New York Times piece.³*I am not going to answer any
>questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or
>my
>political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private
>affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be
>asked, especially under such compulsion as this.²*Mr. Seeger offered to
>sing the songs mentioned by the congressmen who questioned him. The
>committee declined.
>
>I literally began my career in education by teaching Pete's anti-war
>songs,
>(and some others from the mid- 20th century roots music era). in English
>classes,  first to refugees from South East Asia, then later from Ukraine
>and Bosnia and finally to migrant farm workers here in South Georgia.
>
>Later I would officially learn about the power of ZPD's, and was enabled
>to
>historically identify the consciousness raising dynamic and
>multidimensional aspects of collective and affective pedagogy through
>musical/linguistic artefacts. Seeger always sought to create this
>environment throughout his music career. It was never just entertainment
>to
>him. For example listen to him teach Jose Marti's poem through song here.
>
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDU5kAnHB8I
>
>RL
>
>
>
>
>On Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 9:18 AM, Peter Smagorinsky <smago@uga.edu> wrote:
>
>> I would add my appreciation to all the others. I would not want to
>> overlook the fact that he was a long-time member of a group, the
>>Weavers,
>> who were just as committed to the issues as Seeger and important
>> singers/activists in their own right. Ronnie Gilbert was a champion of
>> woman's/lesbians' rights throughout her lifetime.
>>
>> There are several "best of" albums listed at
>> 
>>http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-key
>>words=the%20weavers&sprefix=the+weav%2Caps&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Athe%20weavers
>>that are worth the investment for oldtimers and newbies alike. I saw the
>> band several times as a kid and even went backstage once because my dad
>> worked with Saul Hellerman at the National Weather Bureau in Washington,
>> DC; Saul's brother Fred was a Weaver, and invited his brother and guests
>> back after the show. Probably in the late 1950s.
>>
>> Interesting thing I learned while looking some things up: The group took
>> its name from a play by Gerhart Hauptmann, Die Weber (The Weavers
>>1892), a
>> powerful play depicting the uprising of the Silesian weavers in 1844,
>> containing the lines, "I'll stand it no more, come what may".
>>
>> More, for the curious:
>> Because of the deepening Red Scare of the early 1950s, their manager,
>>Pete
>> Cameron, advised them not to sing their most explicitly political songs
>>and
>> to avoid performing at "progressive" venues and events. Because of this,
>> some folk song fans criticized them for watering down their beliefs and
>> commercializing their singing style. But the Weavers felt it was worth
>>it
>> to get their songs before the public, and to avoid the explicit type of
>> commitment which had led to the demise of the Almanacs. The new approach
>> proved a success, leading to many bookings and increased demand for the
>> groups recordings.
>>
>> During the Red Scare, however, Pete Seeger and Lee Hays were identified
>>as
>> Communist Party members by FBI informant Harvey Matusow (who later
>> recanted) and ended up being called up to testify to the House
>>Committee on
>> Un-American Activities in 1955. Hays took the Fifth Amendment. Seeger,
>> however, refused to answer, claiming First Amendment grounds, the first
>>to
>> do so after the conviction of the Hollywood Ten in 1950. Seeger was
>>found
>> guilty of contempt and placed under restrictions by the court pending
>> appeal, but in 1961 his conviction was overturned on technical
>>grounds.[1]
>> Because Seeger was among those listed in the entertainment industry
>> blacklist publication, Red Channels, all of the Weavers were placed
>>under
>> FBI surveillance and not allowed to perform on television or radio
>>during
>> the McCarthy era. Decca Records terminated their recording contract and
>> deleted their songs from its catalog in 1953,[2] and their records were
>> denied airplay, which curtailed their income from royalties. Right-wing
>>and
>> anti-Communist groups protested at their performances and harassed
>> promoters. As a result, the group's economic viability diminished
>>rapidly
>> and in 1952 it disbanded. After this, Pete Seeger continued his solo
>> career, although like all of them he continued to suffer from the
>>effects
>> of blacklisting.
>>
>> In December 1955, the group reunited to play a sold-out concert at
>> Carnegie Hall. The concert was a huge success. A recording of the
>>concert
>> was issued by the independent Vanguard Records, and this led to their
>> signing by that record label. By the late 1950s, folk music was surging
>>in
>> popularity and McCarthyism was fading. Yet the media industry of the
>>time
>> was so timid and conventional that it wasn't until the height of the
>> revolutionary '60s that Seeger was able to end his blacklisting by
>> appearing on a nationally distributed US television show, The Smothers
>> Brothers Comedy Hour, in 1968.[3]
>>
>> When in the late fifties The Weavers agreed to provide the vocals for a
>>TV
>> cigarette commercial, Pete Seeger, opposed to the dangers of tobacco and
>> discouraged by the group's apparent sell-out to commercial interests,
>> decided to resign. He spent his last year with the Weavers honoring his
>> commitments, but described himself as feeling like a prisoner. He left
>>the
>> group on April 1, 1958.
>> p
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu [mailto:
>> xmca-l-bounces@mailman.ucsd.edu] On Behalf Of Robert Lake
>> Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 8:55 AM
>> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
>> Subject: [Xmca-l] Re: Pete Seeger
>>
>> Thank-you Leif.
>> Pete's passing leaves a large chasm in the cultural/historical landscape
>> not only of the U.S.
>> but the whole world he embraced. The New Times Obituary provides a good
>> overview.
>>
>>
>> 
>>http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/29/arts/music/pete-seeger-songwriter-and-c
>>hampion-of-folk-music-dies-at-94.html?emc=edit_na_20140128&_r=0
>>
>> So long Pete, its been good to know ya!
>> Robert Lake
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 3:39 AM, Leif Strandberg <
>> leifstrandberg.ab@telia.com> wrote:
>>
>> > Pete Seeger is deadS but we will remember him and his important
>> > cultural activityS we are moved but we know:
>> >
>> > "We shall not be moved"
>> >
>> > Love to Pete Seeger and his big family all over the world
>> >
>> > Leif
>> > Sweden
>> >
>>
>>