An extraordinary life and an amazing artist and human being.
Pete Seeger enters 9th decade as an activist
By CHRIS TALBOTT
Tao Rodriguez-Seeger was halfway through Friday night’s march down Broadway to support the Occupy Wall Street movement, a guitar strapped over his shoulder and his grandfather Pete Seeger at his side. Suddenly a New York City police officer stepped from the crowd and grabbed his elbow.
“Are you Tao Seeger?” the officer asked tersely. “Was this your idea? Did you think of this?”
Rodriguez-Seeger, a New Orleans-based musician, was certain arrest was imminent. The officer reached for his hand and he readied for the cuffs. Then something unexpected happened.
“He shook my hand and said, ‘Thank you, thank you. This is beautiful,'” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “That really did it for me. The cops recognized what we were about.”
That moment affirmed the message that his grandfather has preached tirelessly across nine decades. The causes and movements have changed from time to time over 75 years, but his message has always been the same: Song is the key to understanding and change.
“Music does something to you,” Rodriguez-Seeger said. “It can cross rivers of meaning that entire books can’t get across. … You take any one of Bob Dylan’s songs and you get to the heart of the matter where it took Homer volumes and volumes of books to get to the same point.”
Today, Pete Seeger is approaching the far end of a life lived walking hand in hand with American history, often at odds with the government that runs things. It failed to shut him up. The courts had no chance. Changing tastes and values? Never. Even time seems to have taken a step back in deference to the musical rabble-rouser’s resolve and determination.
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