Pete_Seeger_at_Newport_Folk_Festival_2009Pete Seeger at 2009 Newport Folk Festival
Image credits:
William Wallace

Pete Seeger is one of my all-time favorite singers and heroes.

After his death two days ago, his grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson said this:
“He was a second father to me, he was a friend, he was a best friend. He was just this wonderful, genuine person.”

I think those words accurately reflect what many of us felt about Pete, even those of us who did not know him personally. He was a powerful role model and inspiration, especially for so many in my generation.

He was not only a popular singer and song writer, but also an activist for civil rights, social justice, the environment, world peace, and more. He used his music as a powerful tool to get people’s attention and to get them to act.

As the saying goes, “He walked his talk.”

The list of Pete’s accomplishments is nearly endless.

His band, The Weavers, was popular when I was a kid. I loved their music, and the lofty vision of their lyrics. The Weavers were blacklisted during the McCarthy Era—that dark time in US history when thousands of Americans were unjustly accused of conduct disloyal to the country.

Over his long career Pete was associated with many other legendary singers and performers (besides his own group, The Weavers): Bob Dylan, Theodore Bikel, Bruce Jackson, Alan Lomax, Peter Yarrow, and many others.

I particularly resonate with Pete’s spiritual perspective:
“I feel most spiritual when I’m out in the woods. I feel part of nature. Or looking up at the stars. I used to say I was an atheist. Now I say, it’s all according to your definition of God. According to my definition of God, I’m not an atheist. Because I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I’m looking at God. Whenever I’m listening to something I’m listening to God.”

His words remind me of what my spirit guides often say:
God is all that is.”

Among his other quotes, these are some of my favorites:

  • Do you know the difference between education and experience? Education is when you read the fine print; experience is what you get when you don’t.
  • Being generous of spirit is a wonderful way to live.
  • Songs won’t save the planet, but neither will books or speeches.
  • It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.
  • Down through the centuries, this trick has been tried by various establishments throughout the world. They force people to get involved in the kind of examination that has only one aim and that is to stamp out dissent.
  • I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent the implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, make me less of an American.

Godspeed, Pete—we’ll miss you!

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Here is a video of Pete singing one of his most popular songs and one of my favorites, “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” He’s accompanied by his grandson, Tao Rodriquez/ Seeger and Arlo Guthrie, singer son of the legendary Woody Guthrie. Woody was a close friend and mentor to Pete.

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What are your feelings about Pete Seeger? About the things he did and the ideals he embraced? Please share your thoughts and comments with us.

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What other subjects would you like us to talk about in these posts? Please email me.

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About John Cali

John Cali is a writer, blogger, and channel for a group of spirit guides. His next book is Conversations With Spirit: Real Answers to Life’s Pesky Questions, Book 1. John lives in northwestern Wyoming. Sign up for his newsletter here.

Personal readings with John and Spirit

 

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