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Celebrate Pete Seeger’s Centennial with a Never-Before-Heard Recording
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4/15/2019 at 3:25:08 PM GMT
Posts: 115
Celebrate Pete Seeger’s Centennial with a Never-Before-Heard Recording

By Erin Vanderhoof ––

“Pete Seeger, who died in 2014 at the age of 94, saw innumerable changes in American politics during his long career. Although he was blacklisted for his left-wing political beliefs during the era of Joseph McCarthy, he went on to play at a concert for President Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009. And as democratic socialism finds a new foothold among millennials, his message of justice and egalitarianism has found new relevance. A few years ago, a prescient team at Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the nonprofit record label housed at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, began planning to celebrate the centennial of his 1919 birth. On May 3, it will release Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection, a box set that collects countless recordings Seeger made during his lifetime, including some that have never before been released.

Jeff Place, the curator and senior archivist who helmed the project, also worked on two other box sets of folk legends that Smithsonian Folkways has released over the last few years: Lead Belly and Woody Guthrie. In a recent interview, Place said that he sees the projects as a trilogy that works together to tell the story of important changes in American music. It also tells the story of his career: working at the Smithsonian to preserve and protect the history of American music. ‘It’s a long journey. I’ve been the curator and archivist for the Folklife collection for 30 years,’ he said. ‘I’ve been working with the Pete, Woody, and Lead Belly collections really closely, trying to digitize them. There were 300 extra tapes, in addition to the 70 albums that [Seeger] did for Folkways, and I spent all these years going through them. It’s getting to the end of my career, so I decided to do these big projects, and clear my brain of all things that I’ve learned about this amazing music, especially Pete’s.’


To continue reading, visit the full article on Vanity Fair's website.

Vanderhoof, Erin. “Celebrate Pete Seeger’s Centennial with a Never-Before-Heard Pete Seeger Recording.” Vanity Fair. (March 29, 2019). < >



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