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Pete Seeger

Pete Seeger is an icon of American folk music. Both a folk singer and a political activist, he was one of the leaders of the 'protest music' movement in the 1950s and 1960s. A founding member of the folk groups "The Almanac Singers" with Woody Guthrie and "The Weavers" with Lee Hays and Ronnie Gilbert, Seeger was blacklisted during the McCarthy Era. He is perhaps best known as the author or co-author of the songs "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "If I Had a Hammer," and "Turn, Turn, Turn" which have been recorded by artists worldwide. But he is also known for his work reclaiming the Hudson River from pollution. He first met Rosalie in the mid 1950s.

[Image: Vintage photo of Pete posing with banjo]

Vintage photo of Pete posing with banjo

Q: When did you first meet Rosalie?
A: I was passing through Salt Lake City and somebody told me to stop and see Rosalie Sorrels. And there she was, a harried homemaker with a batch of children in an apartment that had some windows at one end and windows at the other end and dark in between and I could see that she was really trying to figure some way out.

Rosalie sings "My Father's Mansion" alongside Pete
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Q: What are some of the things you like about Rosalie's songs?
A: I very much appreciate their having a strong home base. I'm a complete fan of that phrase, "think globally, act locally."

Q: Talk about Rosalie's voice.
A: If anybody can sing like Rosalie I say, "Hurray!" You don't show off your fancy voice. You stay on pitch, stay in rhythm, enunciate clearly enough so people know what the words are. That's my ideal.

"You stay on pitch, stay in rhythm, enunciate clearly enough so people know what the words are. That's my ideal."

It's a real voice. It's not trying to say, "Look what a beautiful voice I have." A real person's voice and whether you sing softly or strongly or sing high or low, I say "that's a real person singing." It's not someone studying, "Oh, you must get pear-shaped tones."