Pete Seeger: Live in Australia 1963

Thu, 06/04/2009 - 8:00pm
Pictured: Pete Seeger
Pete Seeger, a political activist and talented folk singer, famously sang protest songs that were popular among U.S citizens but regarded with suspicion by the government. In fact, he was the first American musician to be formally investigated by his own government for sedition – due to his music and “insurgent” lyrics – and was banned from singing on the country’s TV networks. In 1963, after years in court fighting a 10-year sentence for refusing to cooperate with a congressional investigation, Seeger’s conviction was overturned, and his passport was returned. Eager to flee his country’s persecution, Seeger launched a world tour, gracing 22 countries with his foot-tapping tunes. Among his first stops was Australia, a country ripe with activism, ready for social change, and rich in folk music.

Pete Seeger: Live in Australia 1963, making its broadcast premier which airs Thursday, June 4 at 8 p.m. on WXXI- TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI- HD (DT21.1/ cable 1011),captures the memorable, sold-out performance of the blacklisted American musician.  Television audiences will enjoy singing along with the iconic musician as he takes the stage in Melbourne, Australia to perform a classic set of folk standards.    

Seeger’s charming personality and quick humor captivate the crowd in this live performance. Even the most hesitant audience members are infected with the desire to sing—filling the auditorium with more than 3,000 voices. “It’s a chain
of words and ideas as well as a chain of rhythm, melodies, harmonies, and feelings,” Seeger explains. “It’s really only after I’ve touched base with the kids out there, the women and the men, the old people, the discouraged people and the impatient people, that we finally pull things together.”

The concert includes songs from other folk icons, including Peter Paul & Mary, Tom Paxton, Woody Guthrie, and Bob Dylan. Fun tunes like “Skip to My Lou,” bring listeners back to their simpler childhood days, while spirituals like “Kumbaya” invoke a communal sense of peace and compassion. Other classics include “The Wild Lover,” “If I Had a Hammer,” and “Highland Laddie.” The entire collection of songs showcases the power of his music to unite and inspire nations throughout the world.

Seeger received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993, the Presidential Medal of the Arts in 1994, an induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996, was named a Living Legend by the Library of Congress in 2000. His songs have captivated audiences for decades.