[guest post by RFC Communications Director, Amber Black]
Pete Seeger, David Amram, Chuck D, Anti-Flag, Holly Near, Guy Davis: these musicians span multiple generations and wildly disparate genres. But they share much in common.
All of them have used their talents and platforms as performers to speak out for social justice and rally others to become active in progressive movements. Chuck, Holly and Pete are (or were, in Pete’s case) members of the RFC’s Advisory Board, as was Guy’s father, Ossie Davis. Pete and Holly both generously donated their performances at RFC benefits over the years.
Anti-Flag (see video below), along with David, Holly and Guy, were among the scores of musicians who took part in Seeger Fest, the five-day festival this past July that honored Pete and his wife, Toshi, and which the RFC was proud to co-sponsor. That spectacular event was produced by Pete and Toshi’s grandson Kitama Cahill-Jackson, and several co-producers including Gina Belafonte. Gina – along with her father Harry, another RFC Advisory Board member – leads Sankofa, an organization that Chuck D often supports (see video below), which encourages artists to use their voices as activists.
And now Holly Near and Guy Davis will join other artists featured throughout Seeger Fest – including Tom Chapin, Peter Yarrow, The Chapin Sisters, Kim & Reggie Harris, and Kristen Graves – plus Bethany & Rufus, Garland Jeffreys, Joel Rafael and The Amigos, at a concert on Long Island later this month that will remember Pete Seeger while celebrating David Amram’s 84th birthday.
Maybe you were among the thousands of people in the audience at one or more of the powerful and poignant Seeger Fest events. Or maybe you wish you could have attended but weren’t able to do so. Either way, the upcoming show will in many ways be a second chance to experience that magic and honor Pete – someone who was beloved and admired by so many – while celebrating David Amram, a musician who has had a stellar career and a life of activism in his own right.
Jason Samel of Movement Music Records, who co-produced Seeger Fest along with Kitama and Gina, is the force behind this event which will take place at 7:00 pm on November 20th, at Hillwood Recital Hall at the Tilles Center on the Long Island University CW Post Campus, 720 Northern Blvd., Brookville, NY. Advanced tickets are available at http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/886186
Jason is a resident of nearby Great Neck, NY and this concert will benefit that city’s Gold Coast Arts Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting the arts through education, exhibition, performance and outreach. In a recent article on Examiner.com, Jason notes that these musicians all regularly performed with Pete Seeger, and today “they continue to share the stage with him through remembrance and acknowledgement of his spirit's presence in all their music and activism. We credit Pete as a great organizer and musician who blazed a path for so many by indelibly linking his music and activism.”
Jason goes on to say, "David Amram was very close friends with Pete Seeger, which is the reason we wanted to tie this into his birthday concert. David has a long history in folk music, classical, jazz, blues, as well as music of the American Indians. David has been a mainstay at the Clearwater Festival for as long as it has existed. Every artist on the bill has played with David and Pete,” and, “much of Amram’s music will be played at the concert, as it is a tribute to both him, and Pete."
Click here to read the accompanying article about Anti-Flag’s Seeger Fest performance of “What Did You Learn in School Today?” below.
Chuck D, in a Sankofa-produced video about the importance of artists speaking out.
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