Australian Folk Songs
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One Word ... We! Pete Seeger and Friends
Special thanks to Marie Armstrong
who had to leave the show 2 days before
the opening due to ill health
fiddle, harmonica, mandolin, guitar, vocals
double bass, vocals
5 string banjo, 6 & 12 string guitar,
mandolin, harmonica, vocals
Philip de Carle
Sound Equipment & Mixer
Philip de Carle
Typesetting & Layout
Philip de Carle
One Word ... We! Pete Seeger and Friends was conceived by its musical director, Maurie Mulheron and directed by Frank Barnes for performances at the Maleny Folk Festival 1993/94. Its first performance was at New Theatre on 18 December 1993 with the title "How Can I Keep From Singing?". It starred Greg Leisner, Gemma Garner and the band Bindi - eye; Janek Bagoien, Peter Corkill, Pat Craigie and Maurie Mulheron. Lighting was by Mark Fordham and other technical help by Dennis Long.Director's Note
For all of my adult life I have been involved in politics. I have also been aware of the songs of Pete Seeger and his friends and the role they have played in the political arena, from the anti-war and anti-bomb movements to Vietnam and the current conservationist ideal.
When I was given the opportunity to work on this show about Pete Seeger and his songs I jumped at the chance and have enjoyed immensely the transition from How Can I Keep From Singing? a small show that we took to the Maleny Folk Festival, to another small show that you are seeing here tonight.
I feel privilaged to have spent so much of my life working in the area of progressive politics particularly through my union, the NSW Teachers Federsation and New Theatre. I particularly like combining music with political messages. Like Pete Seeger I believe it's a way of getting the message through to people and a way of reinforcing our own political beliefs. Like so many people in political life Pete Seeger and his friends are a mirror of that life. I would like to dedicate this show to my extended family i.e. the friends I have met through my political life; they are my life. So, please sing along with the show and enjoy!Writer's Note
Why Pete Seeger? It's not an easy question to answer.
In May of this year I was woken by a phone call in the middle of the night. "Hello, my name's Harold Leventhal. I'm calling from New York." Harry Leventhal, Pete's manager and friend for over 45 years, had a message from Pete Seeger. "Maurie, Pete's got a copy of your script. He's going to have a look at it. He'll be in touch soon."
"What's going to be the reaction?" I pondered as I got off the phone.
Weeks later a cheese box arrived from Beacon, NewYork. Not full of cheese, but books and articles, and on the bottom was my draft script. "Thanks for letting me look at this." Pete's red pen had been kind. A song suggestion here, a crossing out there. I recalled Country Joe McDonald's joke, "If Seeger ever wrote his auobiography, he'd content himself with a half-dozen entries in the index." So, it could have been worse!
One Word ... We! has its sub-title, Pete Seeger and Friends. Pete's suggestion, ensured that the "friends" were given prominence. The show, therefore, is not really about one singer. It's about a tradition. A tradition dating back centuries in which singers and songwriters, the 'friends', have used their skills to galvanise others to action and to provide spiritual nourishment when things looked bleak.
Why Pete Seeger? It's a question I put to Tom Paxton, the American folksinger and songwriter, a couple of weeks ago. He wrote back:
"It isn't possible for me to overstate the influence of Pete Seeger upon me and every musician of my generation, I began to hear his recordings while a student at the University of Oklahoma in the late 50s and I was struck immediately by his accessibility, his complete lack of pretence and his clear message that said, not "look at me" but "listen to this". The message also contained the imperative: "Go and do likewise."
From Pete we learned the incredible scope of folk music - from children's songs to songs from around the world, work songs, union songs, songs by Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly. Pete showed us a world in song and we can never adequately thank him for that."
Thanks Tom, I certainly couldn't have thought of a better answer.
australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory