Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Listening to the Protest Singer

The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger (Vintage)This month we are reading The Protest Singer: An Intimate Portrait of Pete Seeger by Alec Wilkinson.  This is a book you need to listen to with a soundtrack. Now, if your old Pete Seeger records are unplayable due to the fact that you no longer own a turntable to play them on, you can go to the Smithsonian-Folkways website and click on the "radio" button and chances are Pete will show up sooner or later and you'll discover some other unique musicians on your way there.

I'm sure many of our Loyal Readers have already seen the Pete Seeger PBS American Masters documentary The Power of Song, but take note that Smithsonian-Folkways offers three podcast series combining musical selections and interviews and each one has a special Pete Seeger episode available. You can listen online or search iTunes to download. 

The "Folkways Collection" series explores the history of Folkways records and an overview of the record label's vast holdings. Episode 12 is dedicated to Pete Seeger, but several of the others, such as those on music of the labor and civil rights movements and the episode on children's music also feature our friend Pete.  Well worth a listen.

Episode 20 "Pete Did That?" of the Sounds to Grow On series also explores the many sides of Pete Seeger's music. Loyal Readers may also be interested in some of the other programs in this series, for example "Songs of Struggle and Protest" or "Sacco and Vanzetti."

Finally, the Sound Sessions series also has a Pete Seeger episode in addition to features on Seeger friends Woody Guthrie and Paul Robeson. Happy listening!

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