Folk singer and activist Peggy Seeger comes to town
We are very privileged in our area to have a nightspot that features a variety of music for our enjoyment. It’s called “The Rooster’s Wife” and this past week the featured performer was none other than Peggy Seeger.
Of course you’ll recognize the name Seeger (her half brother Pete is often referred to as the “father of American Folk revival”) but Peggy can stand on her own, often being considered one of North America’s finest singers of traditional songs, many of them her own creations.
This is the final tour for this still vibrant 77 year old and it was a thrill to hear her in person. She is still very much the activist and had even written a song in support of the Occupy Wall Street group. It was like going back in time and reminded me of the years of Peter, Paul & Mary, Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. (A thrill for this old liberal, to be sure!)
However, an even bigger thrill was in store for me and everyone else.
Peggy introduced us to Rhiannon Giddens, the lead singer of the Durham, NC based Carolina Chocolate Drops , a group that culls their sound from the 1920s and 30’s Southern black music. They are quickly gaining National acclaim and I can see why.
Before she sang Rhiannon revealed that Peggy Seeger has been her mentor since she was a small child and that she was following Peggy’s example by writing her own words and music. She then picked up her banjo and began to sing. Her haunting voice depicted a chilling conversation between a slave girl and her mistress at the end of the Civil War. We were mesmerized to say the least and she received a standing ovation.
It was a memorable evening and I can’t help but wonder if someone had once given Peggy the boost that she gave to Rhiannon that night. What a loving gesture.