When someone asks me what makes me a fan of Pete Seeger's music I have multiple positive associations. One of the most positive is a return to music and storytelling as a communal activity, where there's no pedestal for the performer to stand on because everybody's in it, as active participants together. The combination of the communal, healing power of a Pete Seeger performance and the subjects that his music explore is the music's greatest asset. Pete Seeger music is a call for civil rights and action while striving for peace through the power of the community and the return to music and storytelling's ancient origins. It is also a satire of cultural subjects that never seem to change and sometimes it's even a light hearted folksy celebration of life. Yesterday I found myself listening to "We Shall Overcome" and "Where Have All The Flowers Gone?" and I realized something:the difficult things it explores are things that we're a long way from achieving but I don't think that's what matters. Listening to these songs inspire us as individuals to never stop trying.
The true value of Pete Seeger's legacy is that it reminds us of music and storytelling's true value that sometimes gets lost in the plastic facade of western culture's notion of celebrity. It brings us together and empowers us rather than the understandable temptation to drift apart and that's 96 years of life worth celebrating.
Below: two Pete Seeger Youtube videos:
1. "Where have all the flowers gone"