On the day of Pete Seeger’s 100th birthday – Friday, May 3, 2019– we will honor his musical, environmental, labor, and civil rights legacy with a special concert, "In the Spirit of Pete" featuring acclaimed performing songwriters Joe Jencks and Maria Dunn, who each in their own way are continuing Pete’s legacy.
Joe Jencks writes, “Pete Seeger grew up in a family where he was surrounded by diverse music. His mother, father, and step-mother were all world-renowned in musical performance, composition, and in academia. His father is credited with founding the field of ethnomusicology. At age 20, Pete took a job working for Alan Lomax at the Library of Congress. Pete was a founding member of the Almanac Singers and The Weavers. His political activism and support of civil rights put him at odds with the establishment. And in 1955, he was blacklisted for refusing to cooperate with the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC).
“And unlikely as it was, from that point forward his solo career took off, even under a cloud of judgment and suspicion from mainstream society. He became a symbol of progressive counter culture and the artistic conscience of the political left. Influencing several generations of musicians globally, Pete Seeger lived a life of extraordinary integrity, and always supported younger musicians just finding their way. He always had a soft spot for the underdog. Eventually winning multiple Grammy Awards and the National Medal of the Arts, Pete definitely got the last word.”
Joe and Maria have both been here before – most recently in March 2017 for a memorable night with Si Kahn, and of course Joe several times before that with the trio Brother Sun– and they seemed just the right musicians to bring back for this special tribute, following in the footsteps of Pete Seeger.
“The key to the future is people joining in. The music of Joe Jencks captures this essential spirit. Joe is a fantastic singer who carries on the traditions.”– Pete Seeger
Joe Jencks’ discography includes songs about immigrants (“Lady of the Harbor”), worker’s rights (“Rise As One,” “You Don’t Have the Right”), working people (“St. Christopher”), and even Pete Seeger himself (“Let Me Sing You a Song,” based on Pete’s testimony at the HUAC hearings in 1955).
By the time she began writing her own music in the mid-‘90s, Canadian musician Maria Dunnwas drawing deeply on the folk tradition of storytelling through song to honor the resilience and grace of “ordinary” people. In keeping with Pete Seeger’s words – “The key to the future of the world is finding the optimistic stories and letting them be known” (1994) – her recording Gatheringhighlights stories of the love that fires our actions to make the world a better place.
Normally, this May concert would close out our season, but due to the January snowstorm that forced us to cancel The LYNNeS, we will have a special concert by Lynn Miles and Lynne Hanson on Saturday, June 8. We shouldn’t have to worry about snow by then (I hope!).
Keep on singing!
– Janice Hanson
Janice Hanson is Concert Chair of the Golden Link Folk Singing Society, which was founded in 1971 to present, promote, and preserve folk music in the Rochester area.