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Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing?

Series produced by David Dunaway

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Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing? reveals an inside history of American folk music’s most famous and controversial performer in three, one-hour programs.

On January 20th, 2008, folk-singing icon, Pete Seeger, along with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen performed before a worldwide audience of millions as part of the inaugural festivities for President Barack Obama.

Many saw him, but few know the real story of this rail-thin man with the 5-string banjo. Seeger has been called “a saint” by Bob Dylan. Joan Baez said “We all owe our careers to him.” His performances touched millions, but his considerable musical achievements were overshadowed by political controversy when he became the most blacklisted performer in American history.

In celebration of Pete’s 90th birthday on May 3rd of this year, producer and Seeger biographer, David Dunaway (Across the Tracks: A Route 66 Story; Writing the Southwest), is releasing the acclaimed Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing? to PRX stations and listeners. Based on Dunaway’s thirty years of research, this award-winning documentary* is packed full of rare recordings and never before heard interviews with folk music legends like Arlo Guthrie, John McCutcheon, Si Kahn, Holly Near, and more.

Following Seeger from his musical family origins, through folk-music revivals, the infamous Peekskill Riot, McCarthy-era blacklisting, and on to his civil rights and environmental movement involvement. Pete Seeger: How Can I Keep From Singing? is a fascinating look at one the most influential and controversial musicians of the 20th century.

Program I: Origins -
How did a Harvard-educated boy become a radical, hitchhiking, banjo-playing, political activist? Program I explores Seeger’s youth and America’s folk revival of the 1930s and ‘40s.

Program II: Folk Songs and Ballads -
This program evokes the exciting folk music revival of the 1950s and ‘60s and the role Seeger played in it.

Program III: Topical and Protest Songs -
Program III looks at the tradition of singing out for social change, and how the music of the Civil Rights, anti-war, and environmental movements galvanized Seeger’s life.

Visit the companion website at peteseeger.org for more information.

*2009 BEA Festival-
• Best of Competition: Radio Documentary
• Best of Festival: Audio Division
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On January 20th, 2008, folk-singing icon, Pete Seeger, along with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen performed before a worldwide audience of millions as part of the inaugural festivities for President Barack Obama. Many saw him, but few know the real story of this rail-thin man with the 5-string banjo. Seeger has been called “a saint” by Bob Dylan. Joan Baez said “We all owe our careers to him.” His performances touched millions, but his considerable musical achievements were overshadowed by political controversy when he became the most blacklisted performer in American history.In celebration of Pete’s 90th birthday on May 3rd of this year, producer and Seeger biographer, David Dunaway (Across the Tracks: A Route 66 Story; Writing the Southwest), is releasing... Show full description


Additional Files

4 Pieces

Order by: Newest First | Oldest First

  • Added: Apr 10, 2009
  • Length: 02:16
  • Purchases: 12
Piece image
Program III looks at the tradition of singing out for social change, and how the music of the Civil Rights, anti-war, and environmental movements g...

Bought by KUNM, KGLP, WCQS, KUOW, Prairie Public and more


  • Added: Jan 28, 2014
  • Length: 52:40
  • Purchases: 14
Piece image
This program evokes the exciting folk music revival of the 1950s and ‘60s and the role Seeger played in it.

Bought by KUNM, KGLP, WCQS, Prairie Public, Iowa Public Radio and more


  • Added: Apr 29, 2011
  • Length: 52:43
  • Purchases: 15
Piece image
Program I: Origins How did a Harvard-educated boy become a radical, hitchhiking, banjo-playing, political activist? Program I explores Seeger’s you...

Bought by KUNM, KGLP, WRPI, WCQS, Prairie Public and more


  • Added: Apr 29, 2011
  • Length: 52:40
  • Purchases: 19