SONY DSCOn Tuesday, July 9th, the world lost a beloved cornerstone of the traditional music world: Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger, aged 91. Toshi was the wife of Pete Seeger or–perhaps more fittingly–Pete Seeger was the husband of Toshi.  She passed away just a few days shy of their 70th Wedding Anniversary.

As Mark Moss (SingOut!) wrote in his tribute, “[Toshi] was a mother, an organizer, an activist and filmmaker … and an essential part of all of her husband’s work.” (singout.org/toshi-seeger-passes)

Toshi was a dear friend to many, including me. And she was tough as nails. She had to be.

Pete was on the road performing and doing benefits for countless organizations through most of their married life, and Toshi kept the home fires burning in their modest log cabin home perched above the Hudson River.

Years ago Pete tacked up a cartoon on one of those cabin walls. It showed a very exhausted housewife holding two children in one arm, washing the dishes with the other, wearing a dirty apron, phone pressed to one ear, saying, “No, my husband’s not at home right now. He’s off saving the world.”

Pete crossed out the word “he’s” and scribbled his own name above it.

Toshi worked tirelessly behind the scenes throughout Pete’s public life.  Pete was the sails. Toshi was the rudder that kept them both afloat.  She handled most of the details of their shared life and helped keep Pete humble.

As Pete got older, Toshi made sure that someone was always keeping a close eye on him when he was out on the road.  On one occasion I was elected to be that person.  When she learned that Pete and I would be performing at the same conference in California, she asked me to pick him up at the airport, stay at the same place, and drive Pete wherever he needed to be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn later years, as this amazingly strong and independent woman needed twenty-four hour care, it was Pete and their daughter Tinya watching over Toshi.

I learned about Toshi’s passing from a neighbor walking her dog by our home yesterday. She asked if I had heard about Toshi Seeger passing away. I hadn’t.

My neighbor heard about her death through what my First Nation friends call the “moccasin express.” A sister had died, and the people knew it.   Which is how Toshi lived her life: Close to the ground and close to the people. Just how it should be.

There will never be another Toshi-Aline Ohta Seeger, but her life and legacy will no doubt inspire countless others to walk their talk in her footsteps.

Minnesota Nonprofit AwardsCommunity Celebration of Place has been nominated for a 2013 Nonprofit Mission Award for our work in communities and schools. From their website:

Through its Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song™ program, Community Celebration of Place works to eliminate prejudice and racism in society by demonstrating a commitment to pluralism and [inclusivity], and developing unique and thought-provoking strategies to combat racism.

To learn more, visit their website.

Larry Long will be featured on the Mary Hanson Show July 1st, Monday, on Channel 6 at 9 PM,
Metro Cable Network (MCN).   For more information: www.maryhansonshow.com

Richie Havens, Larry Long and Claire ChamberlinRichie Havens was a warm and kind person. He was a strong man, with radiant ebony skin and full beard, a ring on every finger, and often wearing a long, blousy African shirt, draped with necklaces he’d collected from around the world. The man commanded your attention the moment he walked on stage. And he kept it—seated on a stool and playing his acoustic opened string tuned guitar with a large triangular pick he rhythmically strummed like he was playing on an ancestral drum. It was hypnotic.

Richie owned every song he ever played. Be it George Harrison’s Here Comes The Sun, Dylan’s Just Like A Woman, or his own redemptive version of Freedom—immortalized by his performance at Woodstock.

He walked with gentle courage and had a belly laugh that bubbled up out of his very being with an infectious smile that circled the world. I shared the stage with Richie on several occasions through the years. In Central Park at Ben & Jerry’s Folk Festival. On the dry grazing Diné lands of Arizona to support an end to the mining of ancestral land (where, in appreciation, the Hopi people invited Richie into a ceremonial gathering on top of a sacred mesa). The last time I shared a stage with Richie was at Pete Seeger’s 90th Birthday celebration at Madison Square Garden, where he once again mesmerized thousands with his soulful gift of musical acoustic wonder.

Richie Havens was a star in the purest sense of the word. His light shone brightly. Not upon himself, but upon the love we all share within our hearts. He will be deeply missed.
By Larry Long
April 23, 2013

Join Larry Long and Community Celebration of Place on May 30, 2013, from 9am to 1pm, for the Youth & Elders’ Circle 2013 to celebrate the elders honored by Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song during the 2012-2013 school year as well as all the elders honored through the EWCS program.

The event will feature Jazz Legends Irv Williams and Cliff Brunzell with brothers Billy & Paul Peterson, Mini-Documentary “Be Kind To All That Live” in honor of Helen Tsuchiya, release of two story song books & three sound recordings from Elizabeth Hall International and Barton Elementary students, performance of “Forgiveness” and “Be The Change”, Youth & Elders from throughout the metro area, Round Table Discussions led by Dare 2 Be Real Student Leaders and free Soul Food lunch with vegetarian option.

To RSVP

Eventbrite - Youth and Elders' Circle 2013

When

Thursday, May 30, 2013
Program from 9am – 1pm (lunch provided)

Where

North Community YMCA Youth & Teen Enrichment Center
1711 West Broadway Avenue, Mpls.
Matt Kjorstad: 612-302-7272

On February 12, 2013, EWCS honored Anishinabe Ojibwe elder Pat Bellanger at the Sanford Middle School celebration. Bellanger is a founding member of the American Indian Movement and shared her story with students, who wrote the song Awanakwe to honor Bellanger. You can read more about Pat Bellanger in the article posted on The Circle this month. Watch the video of the performance on YouTube.

Elizabeth Hall International Elementary School students from Minneapolis Public Schools, under the direction of music teacher Rebecca Totzke, recorded three original songs written with Larry Long at the Minneapolis Media Institute.  This was a wonderful opportunity for young people to work in a historic studio, formerly known as Flyte Tyme Studios, owned by Grammy Award Winning producers Jimmy Jam Harris & Terry Lewis.

Paul Peterson, Program Chair for Recording and Music Technology at Minneapolis Media Institute, oversaw the arranging, recording, and production of these three original songs with assistance from Anthony Galloway and Caleb James (a.k.a. K.B.), who programmed & created beats for each of the tunes!

These original works will be released at the first annual Youth & Elders’ Circle, April 30, 2013, North Community YMCA Youth and Teen Enrichment Center.

Elizabeth Hall students at MMI

 

 

 

 

 

 

100% of the proceeds from these recorded works will go to support arts in education at Elizabeth Hall International Elementary School.

 

 

Larry Long and Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song are featured on the front page of The Circle, March 2013.  The article talks about honoring Anishinabe Ojibwe elder Pat Bellanger on February 12th at Sanford Middle School in Minneapolis.

Read the article: EWCS HONORS PAT BELLANGER WITH SONG

For more information on the upcoming celebrations, visit the Community Celebration of Place website.

– See more at: http://www.thecirclenews.org/Sanford Middle School, 2/13

From the History Theatre’s website:

With Labor organizations and Unions under attack on the political battlefield, now is the perfect time to reflect on the life of one of Minnesota’s most important labor activists and civil rights leaders! Nellie had played an important part in Hubert H. Humphrey’s history, on both the local level and the national stage, and made a tangible difference in the lives of those she worked with and all of the people of Minnesota.

For more information:

Passport to History events:
http://www.historytheatre.com/event

On Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/152916948194808/?notif_t=plan_edited

MLK day Inaugural Celebrating

The Martin Luther King Day Celebration will celebrate Inaugural of the President , the election of the 113 new members to Congress, the new members to Senate and the House of Representatives, and the defeat of the two state amendments.

Will include Food, cash bar. Entertainment, Dancing, and highlights of the Inauguration. There will even be cut-outs of the President and Vice-President for pictures

Ticket Prices:
Pre-Sale  $20
At the Door $25
College Students  w/student ID $10 (At the Door)
Groups of 10 or more $15/ticket (Pre-Sale Only)
No Charge for children 0 – High School Seniors accompanied by parent or guardian

On November 15, 2012, the Okemah city council voted to make the song Okemah Waltz the official city song. Speaking before the council voted, Larry McKinney, who worked with Larry back in 1988, spoke about his first conversations with Larry, who was looking to come to Okemah and teach the children about Woody Guthrie.

Initially hesitant, he eventually agreed, and Larry spent three years in Okemah working with the schools and children. Larry’s album It Takes A Lot of People (Tribute to Woody Guthrie), came out of that work as did the new official Okemah song, Okemah Waltz.

Read the article from the Okemah Leader here.

Download Okemah Waltz notation (PDF)

Larry joined Dale Connelly in the KFAI studio this Wednesday to talk about his song, Water In the Rain, which honors the 38 Dakota men who were hanged on December 26, 1862, following the US-Dakota War of 1862. To listen to the interview and hear Larry singing Water In the Rain, you can visit the KFAI website. Fresh Air will be replaying the interview on December 26, between 7:00 – 9:00 am, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the hanging.

“Creating Intergenerational and multicultural opportunities for all students to prosper.”

Larry Long will be honoring over fifty elders with students in communities throughout the United States this school year of 2012-2013.  Alan Lomax, one of the great American field collectors of folk music of the 20th century, called Larry’s pioneering work through ‘Elders’ Wisdom, Children’s Song’, the ‘missing link’.

Read more at www.communitycelebration.org.

Hang Dynasty – (Members & former members of Steve Miller Band) and special guest star- Larry Long “America’s Troubadour” perform this year at A Taste of Rochester!

100% of Hang Dynasty Concert Ticket Sales go to support our Veterans and Military

Visit the website here.

Woody Guthrie Centennial Concert with Larry Long, Charlie McGuire, and Pop Wagner
Minnesota State Fair
Sponsored by the Minnesota AFL-CIO

Time: 11:30-12:30 p.m. “STICKING TO THE UNION” WOODY GUTHRIE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION w/ POP WAGNER, LARRY LONG & CHARLIE MAGUIRE
Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Where: MN AFL CIO Labor Pavilion
Visit the website here.