"Larry Long is doing what more singers and songwriters
should be doing: using music to help people learn
to work together, and bring a world of peace."
Larry Long, called "a true American Troubadour" by author Studs Terkel, has made his life work the celebration of American stories and heroes. In a curriculum called Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song,™ he has brought these heroes to the classroom to share their oral history with our younger generation. The children then go on to create songs and lyrical work that celebrate the history and triumphs of their own communities and learn in the process to honor the struggles of different cultures.
Larry Long’s hundreds of ballads readily capture the American history of our time, while embracing our common humanity with stories about those history makers who are known and those who are unknown. He has worked in urban communities combining Latin, Somalian, African-American, and Scandinavian students. He has worked in southern rural communities combining black, white, Native American and Latin stories. In the mid-1980s he assembled the first hometown tribute to Woody Guthrie in Okemah, Oklahoma, which today has evolved into a large, free festival with an array of established and upcoming artists.
Now a Smithsonian Folkways recording artist, Larry has sung at major festivals, concerts and events throughout the U.S. and internationally. Long is a recipient of the prestigious Bush Artists Fellowship, the Pope John XXIII Award and In The Spirit of Crazy Horse Award for his work in forgotten communities.
In 2006 Larry produced and released I Will Be Your Friend: Songs and Activities for Young Peacemakers through Teaching Tolerance of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Over two hundred thousand CDs with activity books are being given out free to elementary schools and teachers, religious and community centers and other organizations serving children in the younger grades. To order the free sing-along CD go to www.tolerance.org.
Long’s work with the youth of Alabama can be heard on Here I Stand: Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song. His latest solo recording is titled Well May The World Go. The title track is featured on If I Had A Song: The Songs of Pete Seeger, Vol. II along with Jackson Browne, Joan Baez, Steve Earle, and many other internationally acclaimed artists.
The demand for Long’s work sparked the creation of a non-profit organization, Community Celebration of Place. Community Celebration of Place works with communities to use music, performance, art and oral history to bring together children and elders, and people of different backgrounds—economic, faith, racial, and cultural—to honor and celebrate our commonalties and differences.