Friday, May 01, 2009
Pete Seeger with Bruce Springsteen and Obama - unlikely folksinging trio
Here's some uplifting paras from the newspaper this morning. Buy The Australian today for the full story, or go to http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/thearts/
PETE Seeger is unlikely to have thought he'd find himself serenading a US president-elect. After all, whenever he found himself in the vicinity of the White House through the decades, it was invariably to picket or protest.
Yet on the day before Barack Obama's inauguration last January, just as the We Are One concert at the Lincoln Memorial was drawing to a close, Bruce Springsteen invited a white-bearded figure in a knitted woollen cap to step out from the shadows. "Lead us, Pete," he implored.
And lead Pete did, in a manner familiar to all who have seen or heard him perform, turning the celebration into an uplifting singalong of Woody Guthrie's This Land is Your Land, a song that became well known despite "never being played on radio or sold", Seeger says. It found its way into school repertoires, but without its most potent verses. "How wonderful to rhyme 'tried to stop me' with 'private property'," he says. "Only Woody could have thought of that." Anyhow, "nobody said you couldn't sing them" at the Lincoln Memorial, so he did.
Obama sang along. Later, while greeting the performers, he told Seeger he had been listening to his songs since he was four.
What were your thoughts while you were up there on stage, I ask Seeger. An official function of any nature, after all, must have been a novel experience for a perennial dissident. "I was thinking about remembering the next verse," he says.