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Americas

Iconic US folk singer, activist Pete Seeger dies

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-01-28

American troubadour, folk music singer and activist Pete Seeger died Monday at a New York hospital. He was 94.

Seeger’s grandson, Kitama Cahill-Jackson, says Seeger died of natural causes after being hospitalized for six days.

During his long career, Seeger spearheaded the American folk revival, championing folk music as both a collective heritage and an anthem of social change.

US folk singer Pete Seeger sings "Ole Dan Tucker"

Seeger first rose to fame as a member of The Weavers, a quartet formed in 1948, and had hits such as “Goodnight Irene.”

From the beginning, Seeger was politically involved. Following a conviction for contempt of Congress after defying the House Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s, he was kept off commercial television for more than a decade.

“Seeger sang for the labour movement in the 1940s and 1950s, for civil rights marches and anti-Vietnam War rallies in the 1960s, and for environmental and antiwar causes in the 1970s and beyond,” said the New York Times in their obituary of the famed singer/activist.

His song “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” became an anti-war anthem of the 1960s and his adaptation of the spiritual “We Shall Overcome” became the song of the civil rights movement.

Seeger “saw himself as a part of a continuing folk tradition,” said the New York Times. He actively mentored younger musicians (including Bob Dylan) and, following in his parents’ footsteps, he became an avid collector of American folk music.

Seeger continued performing and recording for six decades and was onstage in January 2009 for a gala Washington concert two days before Barack Obama was inaugurated.

He remained an activist as recently as October 2011, when he marched in New York City as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests.

(FRANCE 24 with AP)
 

Date created : 2014-01-28

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