18 May 2007

Belated Birthday Wishes

Two of my favorite people on this entire planet celebrated birthdays this moth and, while I thought of them and enjoyed their art on those days, I didn't have/take the time to blog it. So, happy birthday to:

Pete Seeger! On May 3, Pete Seeger celebrated his 88th birthday. Pete, to me, embodies all that is right with folk music. In the purest sense of the phrase, "folk music" is music for the people. It should be music that can be sung together, that can speak to many. A few years ago, when Pete was encouraging the crowd to sing along to "Turn, Turn, Turn" at the Woody Guthrie Folk Music Festival in Okemah, Oklahoma, Arlo Guthrie turned to him and asked what key the song should be in. Without even pausing, Pete answered firmly, "G! The People's Key!"

Birthday Boy Quote: "Any darn fool can make something complex; it takes a genius to make something simple." (Pete Seeger)

Studs Terkel! Chicagoan Studs Terkel turned 95 years old this past Wednesday. The Chicago Tribune offers an account of his birthday party, ending with this charming bit: And, finally, the crowd of several hundred got to hear Terkel reveal his own epitaph, if ever needed: "Curiosity did not kill this cat." Studs is another person who celebrates and elevates the "Common Man" (and woman, of course). He truly sees real life -- with all its beauty and ugliness, dignity and shame -- and shows us. He encourages people to tell their stories and shares those stories with us, unearthing gems that so many of us would have walked right past or kicked aside.

Birthday Boy Quote: "I was born in the year the Titanic sank. The Titanic went down, and I came up. That tells you a little about the fairness of life." (Studs Terkel)

I truly love both of these men and hold them up, not as perfect men, but as men to be admired for their compassion for all humankind, their gifts, and their passion. Blessings be to both of them, in whatever they do.

No comments: