A happy Banjo Friday, friends!
In keeping with the other banjo posts this month, we’re going “classical” again today—but with a twist. Pete Seeger requires no introduction, of course—a great man, & a great banjo player & ambassador for the banjo.
If you’ve ever had the pleasure of looking into his fine publication How to Play the 5-string Banjo, you know that he sees the banjo as being able to play a diverse range of music—& you’ve also seen his banjo arrangement of Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” the 10th movement from the cantata Herz und Mund und Tat und Leben, BWV 147 (“Heart & Mind & Deed & Life”). If you’ve ever heard Seeger’s 1954 recording Goofing Off Suite, you’ve heard him play this as part of a singular line-up of songs—from old-time standards like “Cindy” & “Sourwood Mountain” to Grieg’s “Anitra’s Dance”!
This wonderful performance is from a 1963 concert in Australia, at a time when Seeger was blacklisted in the U.S. One thing I will say: if a song has words, you know Pete Seeger is going to raise his voice to sing it!
Image of Pete Seeger is from Wikipedia; Library of Congress photo, public domain