Peggy Seeger is one of the United States’ finest female folk singers and songwriters.
Peggy was a leading figure in the revival of interest in folk song, championing the music with her late partner Ewan MacColl (he wrote The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, inspired by her), and she has been described by fRoots Magazine as, “One of the most important people who ever graced and shaped the British folk scene”.
Peggy’s first song to achieve major success was The Ballad of Springhill, which she wrote in 1958 about that year’s mining disaster in Nova Scotia.
Her songwriting has often been inspired by her interest in events of the day. As she herself says, “The rest is not history – it is what is happening now”. The best known of Peggy’s songs is Gonna Be An Engineer, which has become one of the timeless anthems of the women’s movement worldwide.
The concert will also feature Devon’s youth vocal ensemble Roots A Capella. Under the direction of Wren Music’s Paul Wilson and Sarah Owen, Roots A Capella sings songs from all over the world, as well as songs from Devon and the Westcountry. They also write their own original songs. Over recent years, they have become renowned for their powerful melodies and strong vocal harmonies in performances at festivals and on concert stages.
Proceeds from the concert will benefit the work of Wren Music (of which Peggy Seeger is an Honorary Patron), and will help the charity to continue to deliver its extensive programme of folk choirs, orchestras and music education projects with people of all ages in schools and communities across Devon.
Peggy and Wren Music go back a long way. She and her late partner Ewan MacColl gave help and encouragement to many folk artistes, including a young Paul Wilson (now Wren’s Music director), who would go and talk to them about his songwriting and performing.
When Paul and co-founder Marilyn Tucker were working together in the early days of Wren Music, they regarded Peggy and Ewan as providing inspiration for the work they were doing, not just as singers and songwriters, but as representing traditional music as part of the people’s culture, and being part of the arts, not hidden away in the back rooms of smoky pubs. They shared a belief that folk music needs to be part of the community as well as on the concert stage, embedded in mainstream arts and music provision.
Peggy Seeger is at the Exeter Northcott theatre on Sunday, May 27. The concert starts at 7.30pm and all seats are £14. Tickets are available from the theatre box office, tel 01392 493493 or from www.exeternorthcott.co.uk
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