With the death of folk troubadour Pete Seeger at age 94, many moving tributes have reminded us of his legacy of preserving folk music traditions and his unyielding work for peace and social justice causes. Pete was known for his ability to lift crowds into song and have folks singing along, especially shining at concerts for college crowds and young children. His message was to sing along with an open heart and voice- things that children do naturally! "There's no such thing as a wrong note as long as you're singing it." he told a New York crowd at his 90th birthday celebration.
We know him for his folk anthems, often adapted from traditional songs- "If I had a Hammer", "Where have all the Flowers Gone?","Turn! Turn! Turn!" ,"We Shall Overcome" (from an early spiritual) and his influence on a generation of folk performers such as Bob Dylan, Peter Paul and Mary, even Bruce Springsteen. He also wrote many songs and books for children including Abiyoyo. Seeger retold a South African folktale in which a boy and his father find a way to make the dreaded giant, Abiyoyo, disappear with music. An included CD contains two versions of Pete Seeger performing the "storysong."
Folk songs, with their simple chords and rhymes, are great for introducing children to music.
Discover The Smithsonian Folkways Archive for Pete's collection of music. Listen to children's music legend Ella Jenkins and find a treasure trove of music from artists of all cultures and traditions. Don't forget to visit Austin Public Library's American Song Database, an eclectic collection of historical music from Americans of diverse origins and all walks of life. For adults Pete Seeger: His Life in his Own Words is a captivating look at this musical icon or watch this DVD: Power of Song.