Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Three-Minute Interview

While I was out in San Francisco this past Spring, I was interviewed by the San Francisco Examiner for their "3-Minute Interview) series. You can read it here: S.F. State professor digs on Pete Seeger.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Greetings from the other side!

The other side of the pond, as they say. I'm spending some time in Europe before the fall semester starts up. At the moment I'm on a little (rainy) island off the coast of Scotland. In a few more days I'll be headed off to Copenhagen to meet up with some friends, old and new!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Happy Birthday, Aldous!

Today is the 115th birthday of Aldous Huxley, writer -- novelist, essayist, poet, screenwriter, and one of the great thinkers of our time.

If you are interested in learning more, I've written two books on Huxley: Huxley in Hollywood and Aldous Huxley Recollected: An Oral History

Both books are available in limited quantities from my website,

Friday, June 12, 2009

Back to the bosque

We're back in New Mexico now, getting settled back in. It seems strange; though I've lived in this house for so many years I find myself having to remember where things are.

Getting all of our computers up and running properly has been a minor nightmare, but I think we've finally got it fixed.(I hope!) Nonetheless, I'm enjoying the lovely view from my back yard, looking out over the bosque and the acquecias.

Of course, three days after we got back to Albuquerque I jetted back to California for the annual meeting of the Route 66 ARC. It was a great and informative time.

And now my collaborator, Molly Beer, and I are working intensely on final edits of our new book, Singing Out.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bay To Breakers

(photo by Brant Ward / The Chronicle)
Today I ran Bay To Breakers, where you cross the entire city of San Francisco, and its hills, in one wild, costumed, race. I ran past people wearing butterfly wings (her companion was carrying a net, but I noticed that she eluded him); Green bras, pink bras, no bras; a flying pig (“flying pig beats swine flu”); people dressed as cars; six women wearing silver and red wigs of an identical size and height, so that they looked like clones; people dressed as salmon spawning on the street; people dressed as cars bumping into one another.

And of course there was politics. Women protesting the invasion of wineries in rural Northern California who called themselves “Grapes of Wrath,” who dressed exclusively in balloons. Gorilla in a hot pink suit, or rather a person in a hot pink gorilla suit. Even Betty Boop, in lingerie. All in all, a strenuous route, and on a hot day, but an awful lot of fun.

Finished in 1 hour, 40 minutes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some Press

Here's a link to an SFSU News article about my BEA win. And another one that is a bit older, but on the same subject.

I'm out buzzing around the coast today. I'm in Point Reyes, CA and I'll be heading to Bolinas a little later in the day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Pete's 90th from Madison Square Gardens

Photo: MSG Photos/George Kalinsky

For those of you who, like me, didn't get to attend the sold-out concert at Madison Square Gardens, here are some great shots by George Kalinsky and Chad Batka.

A three-minute interview with me in the SF Examiner

I was interviewed by the SF Examiner on the occasion of Pete Seeger's 90th birthday. You can read all about it at

Friday, May 1, 2009

Free Lecture "Writing vs. Broadcasting: Pete Seeger"

I'm doing a free lecture in San Francisco on May 9th from 3 to 5 pm. It's going to be in room 609 of SF State's downtown campus at 835 Market St.

Here is the information from the flier:

Have you, as a writer, student or producer, ever wondered whether to pursue a project in print vs. broadcast form? For two dozen years David King Dunaway has lived at the crossroads of writing and broadcasting, producing award-winning radio and TV documentaries. Currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at San Francisco State, Dunaway will present a look into the life of folk musician Pete Seeger, to consider the differences between presenting a life in print and in broadcast form.

Using his recent biography of Seeger and his parallel national radio series, Dunaway discusses the hard, practical choices producers face in deciding between formats, including the grammars of different media, and the advantages and disadvantages of working in each.

Known in the Bay Area as a radio DJ and producer, Dunaway is the author of a half-dozen volumes of history and biography.

In a free public lecture on Saturday, May 9th from 3-5pm-- in room 609 of SF State’s downtown campus at 835 Market St.-- Dunaway will reflect on the dilemmas of moving between print and broadcast. Part master class, part lecture, the public is invited to listen (and sing along!) to some of Pete Seeger’s most famous songs, and to learn of the repression Seeger (and other musicians) suffered at the hands of the FBI, and CIA . The event is sponsored by the Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts Department in the College of Creative Arts of San Francisco State University.
For more information, reporters can email or call (505) 977-4968

In The News.

I got a mention in the sidebar of USA Today today in Bob Minzesheimer's article "Pete Seeger's 90th birthday will be a selfless celebration"

And now, I'm off to be interviewed by the SF Examiner!

Hallo, Danmark! Mig plan er oven på P1

Thomas Ravn-Pedersen's Danish version of a portion of my radio series on Pete Seeger was broadcast on Danish Radio P1 last night. It will be rebroadcast on Saturday at 10:03 and Sunday on 00:55 hrs.

For more information (and to stream the program) go to

Monday, April 27, 2009

Pete Seeger in Australia (and David on TV)

David is on his way back from Albany, where he made a special appearance on the world premiere of the DVD of Pete Seeger: Live in Australia, 1963. Here David offered insight from his 30+ years of research Pete. The program was broadcast live in Albany, but was also taped for broadcast in other markets. Although it is not being released for rebroadcast, viewers in the Albany area will be able to see it again next weekend (Pete's Birthday weekend.)

Many stations around the country will be broadcasting Pete Seeger Live in Australia 1963 beginning in June 2009. If you'd like to see it broadcast, please check with the programming department at your local public television station.

IOWA-Johnston IA
KCPT-Kansas City MO
KEDT-Corpus Christi TX
KLVX-Las Vegas NV
KNME-Albuquerque NM
KOZK-Springfield MO
KQED-San Francisco CA
KRMA-Denver CO
KTEH-San Jose CA
KUED-Salt Lake City UT
KVCR-San Bernardino CA
KVIE-Sacramento CA
NORTH CAROLINA (UNC TV)-Research Triangle Park NC
OKLAHOMA -Oklahoma City OK
WBGU-Bowling Green OH
WBRA-Roanoke VA
WCNY-Syracuse NY
WFSU-Tallahassee FL
WGBH-Boston MA
WGCU-Fort Myers FL
WGVU-Grand Rapids MI
WHRO-Norfolk VA
WILL-Urbana IL
WIPR-San Juan PR
WKNO-Memphis TN
WKYU-Bowling Green KY
WMVS-Milwaukee WI
WNED-Buffalo NY
WNPT-Nashville TN
WPBT-North Miami FL
WQED-Pittsburgh PA
WSKG-Binghamton NY
WUFT-Gainesville FL
WVIA-Pittston PA
WVIZ-Cleveland OH
WXXI-Rochester NY

Pete Seeger Series on Danish Radio

A portion of David's radio series, “Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?” has been translated into Danish and will be appearing on Danish Radio P1 on April 30th. (If you're in Denmark on Thursday, Check your schedule for times.)

He’ll be working on producing a longer version while he's in Denmark this summer.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Television appearance

Following the BEA Festival, I'll be flying to Albany, New York, to appear on an American Public Television showing of the 1963 Pete Seeger concert at Melbourne's Town Hall, "Pete Seeger: Live in Australia 1963," for which I wrote the liner notes.

The program is being broadcast from the studio's of WMHT-TV (channel 17 in Albany) from 7 to 8pm.

The DVD will be released to the general public later this month.

BEA Festival 2009

I'm in Las Vegas today at the Broadcast Educators Association (BEA) Festival 2009. I'm here to receive the BEA Best of Festival King Foundation Award along with the Best Documentary Award for my series, Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?

This is quite an honor for me! Though it is my third BEA award, it is still a thrill.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Radio Series available from

Vermont Public Radio has just picked up the series - right there in Pete Seeger Country!

My three-part radio series, Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?, which ran nationwide last summer and fall on over 230 PRI stations, is being re-released and is now available to subscribers at You can listen to samples there, or at our series site,

Public Radio Exchange (AKA PRX) is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. This is a great resource for community stations who may not be affiliated with the large public radio networks, but still want quality third-party content. Even if you aren't a radio station, you can subscribe and listen to content online.

CD sets of the series are also being offered to Libraries and Sound Archives.

If you have any questions regarding the series, whether you are a PD, a librarian, sound archivist, or any other interested party, please contact us at

Book News

My newest book, Singing Out: An Oral History of America's Folk Music Revivals is off to my editors at Oxford. I'm writing this in collaboration with Molly Beer.

The book is a multi-voiced telling of the story of folk music from the early collectors through to today's online music communities. This book demonstrates the diversity behind the complex evolution of folk music in North America through contextualized oral history interview segments. These interviews tell a narrative in mosaic, layering anecdotes and often-contradictory opinions, to tell not only what happened during the folk revivals, but what it meant to those who were personally and passionately involved. Here the interviews themselves—the voices of musicians, musicologists, writers, activists, and aficionados—open an accessible, primary source introduction to folk music and its history.

Friday, March 20, 2009

90th Birthday Celebration for Pete!

I'll be doing a radio program in Berkeley celebrating Pete's Birthday on May 3rd. I'm really sorry to miss this one.~DKD
NEW YORK, March 18, 2009 —The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, a star-studded, one night only concert event celebrating Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday, will be held on Sunday, May 3, at 7PM, at Madison Square Garden. This once-in-a-lifetime concert event will benefit and raise awareness for Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, founded by Pete Seeger, which strives to preserve and protect the Hudson River. Seeger, a legendary folk singer, political activist and avid environmentalist, has long inspired social change through his extraordinary life and music. The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders will feature over 40 artists representing a wide variety of musical genres and generations, including Joan Baez, Ben Harper, Ani DiFranco, Dave Matthews, Michael Franti, Emmylou Harris, Juanes, John Mellencamp, Tao Rodriguez–Seeger, Bruce Springsteen, Taj Mahal, Eddie Vedder, and Keller Williams. The evening, hosted by Clearwater, will focus on ensemble renditions of musical treasures inspired by Pete Seeger.

American Express pre-sale tickets will be available starting Monday, March 23 at 9AM. Public on-sale will begin Monday, March 30 at 9AM. Tickets are available via and range from $19.19-$250, with a majority priced at $90 to honor Pete’s birthday. Special Clearwater Legacy Tickets will also be available. For more information, please visit

“Pete Seeger’s historic contributions to the environmental movement and the fight for social justice have inspired millions of people. Approaching 90, his great deeds shine on and continue to remind us that nothing is beyond our reach. Clearwater thanks the many gracious musicians gathering to celebrate Pete’s life and help create a living legacy in his honor: the next generation of environmental leaders,” said Jeff Rumpf, Executive Director for Clearwater.

Confirmed artist lineup (subject to change):

Abigail Washburn and the Sparrow Quartet
Ani DiFranco
Arlo Guthrie
Bela Fleck
Ben Bridwell (Band of Horses)
Ben Harper
Bernice Johnson Reagon
Billy Bragg
Billy Nershi (String Cheese Incident)
Bruce Cockburn
Bruce Springsteen
Dar Williams
Dave Matthews
Eddie Vedder
Emmylou Harris
Guy Davis
Jay Ungar & Molly Mason
Joan Baez
John Mellencamp
Kate & Anna McGarrigle
Keller Williams
Kris Kristofferson
Ladysmith Black Mambazo
Larry Long
Michael Franti
Mike & Ruthy Merenda
Native American Indian Cultural Alliance
NYC Labor Chorus
Patterson Hood (Drive-By Truckers)
Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Del McCoury
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott
Richie Havens
Scarlet Moore
Silvio Rodriguez
Steve Earle
Taj Mahal
Tao Rodriguez-Seeger
Tom Chapin
Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine)
Tom Paxton
Tommy Sands
Tony Trischka
Toshi Reagon
Warren Haynes


Hudson River Sloop Clearwater, Inc. is an environmental organization with the mission to preserve and protect the Hudson River through inspiration, education and action. Legendary folk musician and activist Pete Seeger founded the organization in 1966 when he decided to “build a boat to save the river” with the belief that a majestic replica of the sloops that sailed the Hudson in the 18th and 19th centuries would bring people to the river, where they could experience its beauty and be moved to preserve it. Thus inspired, the 106-feet-long tall ship Clearwater was launched three years later.

Since 1969 almost half a million people have experienced the Hudson River first-hand — its living organisms, water chemistry and ecological principals — aboard the sloop Clearwater. Named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004 for its role in the environmental movement, the Clearwater was among the first vessels in the U.S. to conduct science-based environmental education aboard a sailing ship, effectively creating a template by which such programs are conducted around the world today. Clearwater’s environmental education programs now serve more than 15,000 students and their teachers annually, and the organization’s members have helped push for passage of the landmark Clean Water Act and fight for removal of toxic PCBs from the Hudson.

To help raise awareness for its mission, Clearwater presents the Great Hudson River Revival each June at Croton Point Park, located in Westchester County, an hour north of New York City. This two-day music festival will take place June 20-21, 2009. Tickets go on sale on March 17, 2009. Year after year, Clearwater’s unique approach to public outreach has made the Clearwater a symbol of grassroots action through hands-on learning, music and celebration.

Please visit the for more information on Clearwater and its programs.
(Source: Sing Out News Service)

Friday, March 6, 2009

Seeger receives 2009 Freemuse Award

The American singer, songwriter, activist, environmentalist, and peace advocate Pete Seeger is The Freemuse Award Winner 2009. He is awarded on Music Freedom Day, 3 March 2009, for his commitment to musicians' freedom of expression in an illustrious career which spans over sixty years.

“Pete Seeger's voice has been one which has constantly been on the side of the oppressed and which has refused to remain silent in even the darkest hours. He remains an inspiration to those musicians who seek to use their work for the greater benefit of mankind,’ wrote the nominating committee.

Although Pete Seeger does not believe in awards, he accepted the Freemuse Award. In a statement Pete Seeger quotes an old Arab proverb:

‘When the king puts a poet on his payroll, he cuts off the tongue of the poet!’

Pete Seeger adds: “But throughout history, songwriters have found ways to get around this problem by putting together songs that people like to sing and teach to their friends.”

Blacklisted in 1955
Pete Seeger faced censorship for decades in his music career for promoting peace, justice, and equality in his music. In 1955 Seeger was blacklisted from work when he was subpoenaed to testify before the US House of Un-American Activities Committee, and he refused to testify citing his guarantee to freedom of expression.

Boycotted by commercial venues and media, Pete Seeger continued performing for young people at universities and rallies and created a boom of folk music. His songs played an essential role in the civil rights movement. It was his variation of an old spiritual, which Seeger called ‘We Shall Overcome’, that has become an anthem of the crusade for equality in America.

TV performance cut by censors
The Vietnam War deeply and personally offended Pete Seeger, who used his network television return on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour to air a scathing attack on Lyndon Johnson's war policies, "Waist Deep in the Big Muddy." The song was cut by network censors, but Seeger made a second appearance on the programme and sang the song without interruption. When folk-rock band The Byrds recorded his legendary song ‘Turn! Turn! Turn!’, Pete Seeger’s music reached millions of young people all over the world.

Seeger has never stopped. He recently joined his grandson Tao Rodriquez-Seeger and old friend Bruce Springsteen at the American president Obama’s inauguration, performing for hundred of thousands.

In 2006, Bruce Springsteen recorded `We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions´, reinterpreting 13 songs from Seeger's songbook.

Grandson Tao attends award ceremony
The Award Ceremony will take place at Stockholm’s Concert Hall, marking the Music Freedom Day on 3 March.

Pete Seeger does not like to travel far these days, so he has requested grandson Tao Rodriquez-Seeger, an established artist on his own, to travel to Stockholm and receive the Freemuse Award on his behalf.

World-renowned Swedish glass designer Göran Wärff has created the Freemuse Award statuette. The Award is sponsored by BAIK — the Björn Afzelius International Culture Foundation, which was initiated in memory of Swedish rock singer Björn Afzelius who died 1999. Afzelius was a political activist and a strong spokesman for suppressed people.

To inspire
“At Freemuse we deal daily with the horrors of music censorship. We document how artists are being harassed, jailed and even killed. Pete Seeger continues to inspire artists and human rights activists all over the world,” says Marie Korpe, Freemuse's executive director.

Last year, the exiled Ivorian reggae artist Tiken Jah Fakoly received the Freemuse Award. Tiken Jah Fakoly has been forced into exile being a strong critic of political corruption in his home country.


Back in the Land of Enchantment

I'm flying back to New Mexico for a few days. It will be nice to get back. I hear they've had some warmer weather (in the upper 70's!).

Of course, the dreaded Spring Winds have also sprung up.

Singing Out: An Oral History of America's Folk Music Revivals

It's been an extremely busy few months here as I teach a course here isn San Francisco and put final editing touches on the book Molly Beer and I have been working on, Singing Out: An Oral History of America's Folk Music Revivals.

And I'm happy to say that it's finally gotten out the door to our editors at Oxford University Press.

The book is a multi-voiced telling of the story of folk music from the early collectors through to today's online music communities and demonstrates the diversity of opinion behind the complex evolution of folk music in North America through contextualized oral history interview segments. There are many great interviews that show a mosaic, layering anecdotes and often-contradictory opinions, to tell not only what happened during the folk revivals, but what it meant to those who were personally and passionately involved. Here the interviews themselves -— the voices of musicians, musicologists, writers, activists, and aficionados —- open an accessible, primary source introduction to folk music and its history.

More updates as we get them from Oxford.

Piedmont Blues Guitarist And Vocalist John Cephas, 1930 - 2009

“Wonderfully rich vocals and jaunty acoustic guitar. Plenty of spirit and soul, humor and sorrow.”--The Washington Post

"Blues music is truth.”--John Cephas
Master blues guitarist and vocalist John Cephas died of natural causes on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. He was 78. Well known as one half of the award-winning Piedmont blues duo Cephas & Wiggins, John’s remarkable and delicate finger picking and rich, baritone vocals placed him firmly at the forefront of acoustic blues artists. John received a National Heritage Fellowship Award (often called the “Living Treasure Award”) in 1989. This is the highest honor the U.S. Government offers a traditional artist. Two weeks ago, John was honored as one of eight black trailblazers as designated by the Library of Virginia's African American History Month.

John Cephas, along with his harmonica playing partner Phil Wiggins, performed thousands of concerts and festivals all over the world. Often under the auspices of the U.S. State Department, the two spent much of the 1980s abroad, playing Europe, Africa, Central and South America, China, Australia and New Zealand. In 1988, they were among the first Americans to perform at the Russian Folk Festival in Moscow. In 1997 Cephas & Wiggins performed for President Bill Clinton. In addition, John appeared on stage portraying a blind bluesman in the Kennedy Center production of Blind Man Blues. He also appeared in a production of Zora Neal Hurston’s play, Polk County, in Washington, D.C.

Among his many endeavors, John served on the Executive Committee of the National Council for the Traditional Arts, and has testified before Congressional committees. He is also a founder of the Washington, D.C. Blues Society. “More than anything else,” said John, “I would like to see a revival of country blues by more young people…more people going to concerts, learning to play the music. That’s why I stay in the field of traditional music. I don’t want it to die.”

John Cephas was born in Washington, D.C. in 1930 into a deeply religious family and raised in Bowling Green, Virginia. His first taste of music was gospel, but blues soon became his calling. After learning to play the alternating thumb and fingerpicking guitar style that defines Piedmont blues, John began emulating the records he heard by Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Blake, Rev. Gary Davis and other early blues artists. Aside from playing blues, John worked early on as a professional gospel singer, carpenter and Atlantic fisherman. By the 1960s, he was starting to make a living from his music.

John first met his future partner Phil Wiggins in 1976 at the Smithsonian National Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C. and the two quickly formed a duo. By the early 1980s, the international blues community recognized this marvelous acoustic twosome as the leading exponents of traditional Tidewater blues. While overseas in 1981, they recorded two albums, Living Country Blues and Sweet Bitter Blues, for the German L&R label. Cephas & Wiggins recorded their first domestic album, Dog Days Of August (Flying Fish Records), in 1987 in John’s living room, and it quickly won a Blues Music Award for Best Traditional Blues Album of the Year.

In 1996, Cephas & Wiggins made their Alligator Records debut with Cool Down. They followed up with Homemade, Somebody Told The Truth and Shoulder To Shoulder. Their most recent CD, 2009’s Richmond Blues, was released on the Smithsonian Folkways label.

SOURCE:Alligator Records
PHOTO: Tom Radcliffe

Friday, February 27, 2009

More big news

We just got the word today that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) wants to license my radio series Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing? to run on the CBC-2 program, Inside the Music.

This is a huge deal. As I understand it, CBC-2 was, until last September, a "serious" music channel. Recently it underwent a format change and is focusing on Canadian Artists, with the occasional foray into Americans such as Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and now, apparently, Pete Seeger. Unlike our U.S. public radio stations, each of which chooses its programming, CBC-2 is broadcast nationwide.

When I get broadcast dates, I'll post them here and on

Monday, February 23, 2009

Radio Series Now Available from PRX

My three-part radio series, Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?, which ran nationwide last summer and fall on Public Radio International, is being re-released and is now available to subscribers at You can listen to samples there, or at our series site,

For those unfamiliar, Public Radio Exchange (AKA PRX) is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. This is a great resource for community stations who may not be affiliated with the large public radio networks, but still want quality third-party content. Even if you aren't a radio station, you can subscribe and listen to content online.

CD sets of the series are also being offered to Libraries and Sound Archives.

If you have any questions regarding the series, whether you are a PD, a librarian, sound archivist, or any other interested party, please contact us at

Route 66: Russia style

My big interest, aside from Pete Seeger and folk music, is The Mother Road, Route 66. Although the road was decommissioned in 1985, it remains a part of the our American consciousness.

But is it strictly an American thing? Not by a long shot. Route 66 is, it seems, a world-wide phenomenon as witnessed by this video I found on Ron's "Route 66 News" Blog.

This is Moscow musician Dmitry Novokolsky picking on Bobby Troup’s “Route 66.”

Friday, February 20, 2009

San Diego School Board Formally Apologizes to Pete Seeger

The San Diego School Board approved a resolution Tuesday night declaring that the board "deeply regrets its predecessors' actions" and offered an apology to Pete Seeger for making him sign a pre-performance loyalty pledge in 1960. Here is a link to a piece by CBC-Radio in Canada The program will play in Windows Media Player. Select Program 2. The piece starts at 12:42.

Here is a link from NBC San Diego regarding the apology.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Work progresses on my new book

Along with my teaching at SFSU this semester, I've been very busy working with Molly Beer, putting the final touches on my latest book, Singing Out: An Oral History of America's Folk Music Revivals. We're so close to wrapping it up.

Congratulations Pete!

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Pete Seeger was nominated for his most recent album, At 89. We're happy to say that, though the competition was stiff (albums by Pete's sister, Peggy, Tom Paxton, as well as Kathy Mattea's outstanding Coal being among the other nominations) Pete received the Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album.

This is his second Grammy in this category, having won in 1997 for his album Pete. Seeger was also honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.

Congratulations Pete!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Big news!

Greetings from San Francisco!

I was just informed that my radio series, Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing? has won in two categories for this year's Broadcast Education Association Festival of Media Arts Awards!

We were awarded Best Documentary and Best Audio.

I'm beside myself with excitement as this is a very great honor from my peers in broadcast academia.

OK, back to work editing.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Happy Birthday, Huddie!

January marks the 120th anniversary of Huddie William Ledbetter, the American folk and blues musician better known to the world as Lead Belly, King of the 12 string guitar.

No one knows for sure his date of birth, or even the year. Some say it was as early as 1885, though his gravestone sets the year as 1889.

Lead Belly, an ex-convict who was "discovered" by Alan Lomax went on to influence many musicians, including Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger.

For a quick rundown on Lead Belly's life, check out this Wikipedia article

Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?

For those of you who haven't heard my 3-part radio series, Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?, we're gearing up for a second run this May 3rd in honor of Pete's 90th birthday.

Stay tuned for updates on when and where the program will be running in your area.

If you can't wait that long, you can always purchase the 3-CD set at my website,

If you're a Program Director who is interested in running this series, you can contact Rick Raab-Faber at for details on where the series is available. If you'd like to listen to samples or just read a little more, check out the series website,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pete sings with Bruce Springsteen at the Obama Inauguration

[UPDATE: Original YouTube video from German television was pulled for terms violation. Here is the HBO version]

Watch more Dailymotion videos on AOL Video

My associate Rick noted that "it's a great day in America when Barack Obama, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen appear before the world from our nation's capital." (Rick's a huge Springsteen fan.)

Thanks to and HBO for keeping this video up.


Here's some old footage of Pete singing Guantanamera. I'm not sure of the exact origin of this video posted on You Tube.

I have an old archival recording I made when I was about 14 years old at Camp Abellard in New York. Pete came and sang to us campers and I had a chance to record it on reel-to-reel tape. After the performance, he signed some autographs and chatted with the kids. I had a chance to introduce him to one of the campers there, Cesar, a young man from Cuba who wanted to play a song for Pete. That song was Guantanamera, a Cuban folk song from a poem by Jose Marti, and it was the first time Pete heard it. In the recording, Pete asks the Cesar to write the lyrics out for him, and he asked me to send him a copy of the recording.

A Nobel Prize for Pete Seeger?

A January 19th article -- by Peter Dreier in the Huffington Post, no less -- notes the growing call for Pete Seeger to be given the Nobel Peace Prize.

There's also a website -- -- where you can sign a petition to honor this man for his uncompromising and unyielding dedication to to goals of peace and justice. The important thing to note here is that the prize is only given to living individuals. Pete's 90th birthday is coming up in early May, so time really is of the essence.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Dispatches from the front

I'm on the road today, in California's great Central Valley. We had to put on the A/C because it was getting so warm.

We've spent several delightful days along Route 66, but now we're heading up to San Francisco State, where I'll be teaching a broadcasting course for a few months.

In other news, my manuscript of "A Route 66 Anthology" is off at a publisher. This book is a collection of stories by well-known authors that are set along the great mother-road.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Grammy Nomination for Pete

Pete Seeger's been nominated for a Best Traditional Folk Grammy for his "At 89" CD released earlier this year. Among others, he's up against Appleseed labelmate (and sister) Peggy Seeger for her album "Bring Me Home."

Others nominated in this category are Kathy Mattea,Tom Paxton, and Rosalie Sorrels.