By: Heidi Saman
Mike Seeger, who helped revive traditional American folk music, has died at age 75. Seeger was born in New York City and raised near Washington, D.C., in a musical family.
By: Heidi Saman
Mike Seeger, who helped revive traditional American folk music, has died at age 75. Seeger was born in New York City and raised near Washington, D.C., in a musical family. Two of his siblings became key figures in the folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s: his half brother, Pete, and sister Peggy.
Seeger dedicated his life to documenting, teaching and keeping alive traditional music of the American South. He sought to play with musicians who had slipped into obscurity such as master banjoist Dock Boggs and guitarist, Maybelle Carter.
He sang and played a number of instruments, including banjo, fiddle and guitar, and helped form the traditional music group The New Lost City Ramblers in 1958. The Ramblers came together with “the explicit intention of performing American folk music as it had sounded before the inroads of radio, movies and television had begun to homogenize out diverse regional folkways,” said Jeff Place, head archivist for the Smithsonian’s folklife collections.
Seeger went on to record more than 40 albums and received six Grammy Award nominations.
He is survived by his wife, Alexia Smith, three sons from his first marriage, four stepchildren, and thirteen grandchildren.
WHYY’s On Canvas featured Mike Seeger when he performed at the 10th Annual Banjo Collectors’ Gathering at the Philadelphia Ethical Society in November 2007.