A blog about the Jaw harp.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Goodbye, Mr Seeger

Photo by Jim McGuire, from his Nashville Portraits portfolio

Early this August Mike Seeger passed away. Mike dedicated his life to documenting, teaching and keeping alive traditional music of the American South. There's an excellent article about Mike, his life and accomplishments by the Washington Post that I encourage you to read.

The first time I heard Mike's music I was completely taken by the old songs and tunes he sang and played with so much emotion, soul and skill. He used a variety of instruments from the jaw harp to the autoharp to whatever he could make himself. I had a chance to see Mike perform at McCabe's in Santa Monica and even chat with him after the show. I showed and played for him my Morchang equipped with a California Delight vibrator and he got a big kick out of it.

Mike made me aware of and appreciate Old Time. He also taught me that music doesn't require fancy or expensive equipment. Pick up two sticks, a rattle, a couple strings, a jaw harp, a jug or whatever and go for it. Music belongs to the People and we must continue this tradition and gift from the past that he championed so well.

For those of us on the West Coast, on September 9, 2009 at 7pm, “Always Been A Rambler” will be screening at the Berkeley Old Time Convention. This new hour-long documentary about the New Lost City Ramblers, directed by Yasha Aginsky, features recent and archival footage, interviews, photos and LOTS of music. With Mike Seeger, John Cohen,Tracy Schwarz, Tom Paley and many more.

Mike has left the physical world but thank goodness, he leaves us his marvelous recordings.

Thank you, Mike Seeger.

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