Pete Seegar on the banjo almost 70 years ago.

Pete Seeger: To Hear Your Banjo Play
[Via Boing Boing]

[Video Link] Mike Springer of Open Culture says:

This past weekend, Pete Seeger marched through the streets of Manhattan with the Occupy Wall Street movement. He was a spritely 92. It was the latest in a lifetime of political engagement by Seeger, dating all the way back to his youthful support of the Spanish Civil War. Today we bring you a film of Seeger when he was only 27 years old: To Hear Your Banjo Play. Released in 1946, To Hear Your Banjo Play is an engaging 16-minute introduction to American folk music, written and narrated by Alan Lomax and featuring rare performances by Woody Guthrie, Baldwin Hawes, Sonny Terry, Brownee McGhee, Texas Gladden and Margot Mayo’s American Square Dance Group. To Hear Your Banjo Play is included in our collection of Free Movies.


Alan Lomax spent much of the Depression years collecting American roots music. His recordings are some of the first examining indigenous music created in America.

And today’s banjo is an American invention. So it made sense to show us both.

Here we get to listen to Pete Seegar introduce people to the banjo and its history. People singing ballads. People singing spirituals.

And Woody Guthrie singing John Henry. And square dancing.

Fun to watch.