Americana Session/Pete Seeger workshop by Peter Dyer.
Please bring Pete Seeger songs (written and/or performed by him) and/or Pete Seeger anecdotes. While Peter Dyer plans to talk about the man and play a small selection of songs, he would like this workshop to be collaborative. Collaboration is, of course, in the very best of Pete Seeger traditions!
About Peter Dyer and why he’s organising this workshop: I spent about five months in Albany, New York, the state capital, working with a survey crew on a construction site on the banks of the Hudson River. I saw first hand and up close the pollution of the river. On our site was a 6’ diameter municipal sewage main that pumped raw sewage twice a day into the river. It made a big impression on me. Pete Seeger organised the effort to clean up the Hudson River. That’s one of the reasons he’s a hero of mine.
In May 1972 I was arrested along with 22 others at a military recruiting centre in Montclair, California. We were specifically protesting the recent bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong Harbour by the Nixon administration. We were generally protesting the war in Viet Nam. As we sat and as we were arrested and as we waited in jail we sang many songs that Pete Seeger helped popularise.
I have several friends in the American folk community who knew Pete Seeger. I never met him personally. I plan to draw on some of them for anecdotes and other information about the man.
When he died, I posted this message on Facebook:
“You don’t necessarily like people you admire. And vice versa. Pete Seeger could be annoyingly sanctimonious. So much so that even now the sight of a long-necked banjo annoys me. But he told the opportunists, the cowards, the zealots and the bullies on the House Un-American Activities Committee to go to hell. For that and for his work on the Hudson River, he’ll always be one of my heroes.”
Peter moved to New Zealand in 2004 with his wife Cathy.