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PBS streams Pete Seeger documentary on website

The world lost a monumental folk icon on January 27 when Pete Seeger passed away at 94. To celebrate his life, PBS is now streaming their 2008 documentary Pete Seeger: The Power of Song free online.

The documentary explores Seeger’s life with the help of interviews with family members and fellow greats like Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. Power features footage of his early performances, take a visual tour of the many (many) places he lived over the years, and captures him in his later years doing things like joyfully singing as he chops wood.

As the title implies, The Power of Song shows us just how much Seeger believed in the extraordinary ability of music to enact change, and how he spread that belief to his audiences. “He had this amazing ability to look at a group of people, and to make them all sing parts of the songs,” Dylan says. “Whether you wanted to or not, you found yourself singing a part. And it’d be beautiful.”

In addition to streaming online, the documentary will broadcast on PBS tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Pete Seeger dies at 94


Pete Seeger, the iconic folk singer who dedicated his decades-long career to using music to fight for peace and justice for all, died Jan. 27 at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He was 94.

Beginning in the 1940s, Seeger played an instrumental role in the rise of folk music as a popular form. On his own and as a member of the Weavers, the banjo-playing New Yorker followed in the footsteps of legends like Woody Guthrie, bringing traditional songs sung by common Americans to a wider audience as well as composing soon-to-be-classic original tunes like “If I Had a Hammer.” Seeger became a nationwide star in 1950 when the Weavers’ cover of Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene” became a No. 1 smash.

Yet Seeger’s blossoming career was nearly cut short forever in 1955 when he refused to testify before Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s notorious House Un-American Activities Committee about his associations with the leftist movement. Seeger’s subsequent blacklisting severely limited his ability to make a living through music. Seeger didn’t give up in the face of such crude intimidation, though — not then, not ever. Instead, he redoubled his musical activism, working hard to rally fellow citizens in support of labor unions and civil rights. READ FULL STORY

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