We are sad to inform you of the death of folk musician and folklorist Mike Seeger. He would have turned 76 this week. Earlier this year, he received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. From the NEA website: “The 2009 Bess Lomax Hawes Award is awarded to Mike Seeger, a musician, cultural scholar, and advocate from Lexington, Virginia. The Bess Lomax Hawes Award recognizes an individual who has made a significant contribution to the preservation and awareness of cultural heritage.”
“Mike Seeger, whose love for traditional songs and tunes inspired many other musicians – including Bob Dylan – to look for the rural roots of American music, died of cancer Friday night at his home in Lexington, Va. He was 75.
Seeger was a highly respected performer and collector of traditional music and a major force in giving rural Southern musicians a wider audience. He became a spark plug for the revival of interest in American music traditions in the second half of the 20th century…”
Paul Brown’s memories of Mike Seeger
NPR Obituary, by Paul Brown
The Tennessean Obituary
Sing Out Obituary
Contact Music Obituary
PineCone presented Mike Seeger as part of its first Listening Room Series in Holly Springs in May 2008. In addition to performing, over the years, Mike’s love for traditional music led him to produce documentaries — more than 25 field recordings and videos — and to organize many tours and concerts featuring traditional musicians and dancers.
In the liner notes from the 1997 album There Ain’t No Way Out (by The New Lost City Ramblers), he wrote, “Old-time rural music remains at the center of my life. It’s a tactile, emotional, aural pleasure – the words are my Shakespeare and my mysteries, the music is my Bach, my pastime, and it makes me want to dance…Classic, timeless qualities in this music endure. For me, there ain’t no way out but nature, and I’ll make the most of it.”
Please join PineCone in honoring his memory.