Friday, August 31, 2012

“Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring”

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


  1. One of my favorite pieces of music, and I love this clip. I'd never seen it before. Thanks.

  2. I keep enjoying the unusual and wonderful music I find on this blog.


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