Pete Seeger film “The Power Of Song”
I hope most of you got a chance to view the PBS American Masters showing of the new bio on Pete Seeger. It was pretty nice, with glimpses into several facets of Pete’s musical career. It also contained some rare video footage of old friends of mine, including Fred McDowell
(from Como, Mississippi) and Bessie Jones and the Georgia Sea Island Singers from St. Simon’s Island, Georgia. If you missed it, watch for re-runs or take the time to rent the DVD, it’s highly recomended.
The first time I met Pete, I was living in Chicago and working at the Field Museum of Natural History – sort of nice going to a job in a Roman Temple located right on the lakefront. By lucky accident, I had run into an old friend of Pete’s from WW II army days, Robert Parrish and his wife Dorothea, who had a house on Chicago’s north side near my one-room apartment. Bob was a writer and magician, working with Pete entertaining the troops. It was in the fall of 1961 that Bob, Dorothea, and I went to a concert billed as a Seeger family reunion, which included Pete, Penny, Peggy and Mike Seeger. I still remember a night of great music, and being able to talk to Pete afterwards. It was the Parrishes that told me about the newly-formed Old Town School of Folk Music which apparently is still going strong. Music is about connections. . .
[Robert Parrish, writer and magician]
Two years later, I again encountered Pete at a folk festival at UC Berkeley, where he condicted workshops and was part of a show at that campus’ Greek Theater. Lots of fine music.
[Pete Seeger at the Greek Theater, Berkeley]
About Peter Feldmann
Peter Feldmann has long been a musical mainstay in Santa Barbara and Southern California. Besides actively performing bluegrass and old time music with a variety of groups, Peter is also known as a bluegrass historian, collector, music consultant, teacher, and producer, both of live concerts and radio/tv programs throughout the area. His music has been heard in clubs, concerts, saloons, universities, pre-schools, at weddings, wakes, parties, barn-raisings, calf-ropings, rodeos, auctions, fund raisers, wine tastings and chili cook offs.
Peter founded Santa Barbara's Old Time Fiddler's Convention (1972), UCSB's Old Time Music Front (1964), and The Bluebird Cafe (1971). Through these and other outlets, he was the first to bring many prominent folk, blues, and bluegrass artists, including Bill Monroe, Mance Lipscomb, The Stanley Brothers, The New Lost City Ramblers, Fred McDowell, Furry Lewis, Rose Maddox, the Balfa Brothers, and many others to the Santa Barbara area. Peter also helped others access the music by teaching privately, and in group classes for Santa Barbara Continuing Education, UCSB Extension, and McCabes Guitars. He was the first on the West Coast to produce and market instruction Lps - three on How To Play Country Fiddle, and one each on Clawhammer Banjo, and Maybelle Carter Style Guitar. He still presents lectures on country music history at UCSB, Santa Barbara area libraries, and for various interest groups, festival workshops, etc. In 2006, he presented his monograph titled "The Big bang Of Bluegrass Music" (describing the origins of bluegrass 1938 - 1946) to the worlds first International Music Symposium at the University of Kentucky at Bowling Green. He has also been very active in radio, television, and film work, producing weekly shows on country and bluegrass music over a 21 year period on various commercial and public stations. Peter currently maintains three music-related websites, a music blog, and an entertainment service company, "BlueGrass West!", based in the Santa Ynez Valley in Southern California.
Peter performs tunes and songs from the heart of America's musical treasure chest. His shows can include fiddle, guitar, banjo, and mandolin. Well-known as a historian and teacher, Peter is first and foremost an entertainer, sharing his respect, energy and love for the music with his fellow musicians, friends, and audiences.
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