Tribute to Pete Seeger
UPDATE 2/5/14: A local television station sent a reporter to the singalong and his report is viewable below.
UPDATE: Join us for a singalong at the Waban Library, this Saturday February 1 at 3pm. details below.
Our co-founder, and resident songwriter for the Newton Family Singers (and the acoustic combo Waiting For Neil), Andrew Rogovin wrote a tribute to Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie. The full chorus performed the song in our Spring 2012 concert celebrating the life and music of Seeger.
Rest In Peace, Pete. Thanks for all the great songs and for inspiring so many musical communities around the world.
Public Singalong to commemorate the life of Pete Seeger
Saturday, February 1st, 3pm
Waban Library Center
1608 Beacon Street, Waban
Pete Seeger, the banjo-picking troubadour who sang for migrant workers, college students and star-struck presidents in a career that introduced generations of Americans to their folk music heritage, died this week at the age of 94. Come celebrate his life through song at a community Sing-Along hosted by the Newton Family Singers on Saturday, February 1st, 3pm at the Waban Library Center. Songs will be chosen straight from Pete's songlist - songs about freedom, equality, justice, peace, the world we love and the strength of community. Sing together as a community. As Pete once said himself: "Participation - that's what's gonna save the human race."
All are welcome! Bring acoustic instruments!
Paul Simon was already headed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame from his work with Art Garfunkel in the 1960s and 1970s.
In the mid 80s however, he had a record do poorly (Hearts and Bones) and a marriage that wasn't going well (to Carrie Fisher) and a tape of South African music was the only thing that was cheering him up.
He flew to South Africa to learn more about the music he was listening to and to collaborate with South African musicians. Simon brought his longtime engineer and producer Roy Hallee with him and they recorded a lot of jam sessions without having written any songs ahead of time.
Back in the States, Simon wrote lyrics and melodies to lay over the music
This unorthodox method of composition (not unlike what David Byrne and Brian Eno were doing with the Talking Heads) resulted in Simon's most celebrated album to date, Graceland.
The documentary series "Classic Albums" focused an hour on Graceland, and that can be found (for now) in parts on YouTube, starting with part 1:
The recording of Graceland was somewhat controversial, however, as South Africa was still ruled at the time by a white minority under a repressive policy of Apartheid. While students on campuses were protesting and urging divestment from companies that worked in South Africa, Simon went right in and worked with individual artists from that country.
Ultimately, Graceland introduced South African culture and art to the world and arguably helped people see beyond the politics to the people. More recently, a new documentary takes a look back at the album for an assessment of it's cultural impact. The film, originally titled "Under African Skies" and later subtitled "Paul Simon's Graceland Journey" came out in 2012 and aired on PBS, so it may show up again. Meanwhile, the trailer still can be found online:
Perhaps one impact was that at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 25th anniversary concert, Simon sang (before dueting with Garfunkel):
Paul Simon! Paul Simon!
A great songwriter and performer, Paul Simon will be the focus of our attention this spring.
Paul Simon performing at a Sandy Hook funeral
He still sounds great, by the way, and is currently touring with Sting (!?$!).
In April 2011, he played a show in a Seattle, WA club and the audio was recorded. Not the highest fidelity, but it's nice to hear what someone sounds like live (especially as Simon's records are so meticulously engineered). MP3s from the Seattle show are available for free here from Burning Wood.
Jack Cheng directs the Clemente Course in Dorchester, excavates in the Middle East, and writes in Waban, MA.