The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #70103   Message #1195946
Posted By: Suffet
28-May-04 - 11:08 AM
Thread Name: Seeger's swan song?
Subject: RE: Seeger's swan song?
Let me tell a very recent Pete Seeger story. This happened this past January 25 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, at the annual Winter Gathering of the People's Music Network.

It was Sunday morning, just after breakfast, and several dozen participants were sitting in a big circle waiting to begin what PMN calls Songs of the Spirit. It is a loosely structured, leaderless, session in which people sing Gospel songs, Freedom songs, or whatever else "the Spirit" moves them to sing. It is also a strictly a cappella session. By tradition no one plays an instrument, not even a drum, a rattle, or a tambourine.

The session was just beginning when Pete walked in with his banjo slung over his shoulder. As he took a seat in the circle he explained, "I can't sing anymore. My banjo is my voice."

For a few seconds people looked at one another somwhat uncomfortably. Then a woman named Jill Friedman spoke up and asked, "Would anyone like to tell Pete it's against the rules?

No one had the chutzpah to do so.

So Pete stood up, and to the accompaniment of his banjo, he started to sing softly, If you miss me at the back of the bus... That was enough. Everyone joined in, and after just the first verse Pete put the banjo down. The rest of the session was a cappella as usual.

--- Steve