The Power of Song, a film by Jim Brown
Filmmaker Jim Brown had me captivated from start to finish while watching this documentary. I forgot at times I was even watching a film, I felt like I was in Pete Seeger’s backyard listening to him tell stories of his past.
Peter Yarrow, of Peter, Paul, and Mary describes Pete Seeger as the genesis of the folk revival. “It was his spirit, and his way of embracing folk music as a tool for justice and consciousness and caring that became the model for all of us”.
This film takes us on not only the journey of Pete Seeger and the obstacles he overcame through the early to mid 1950s, it demonstrates the power and dedication of one man to lead a movement through song. Pete describes himself as a planter of seeds. Indeed he was.
Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks describes Pete as a living testament to the first amendment. “You can’t just say you have rights. You have to use them to prove that you have them”. Pete led through his actions and his singing. He led through his words and his never wavering belief in how music can be used to gather people together, uniting them to sing out. Pete led others to sing out for Civil Rights as well as the Vietnam War.
This film is a beautiful and affectionate portrait about a pioneer of folk music. Pete Seeger was a man who shepherded songs of peace and justice, that led to the end of a war, championing common causes, and daring to sing about things as he saw them.
It’s funny how powerful a single song can be. It’s truly amazing how powerful a man and his banjo can be behind that song.
“The Pete Seeger I know, and the Pete Seeger that June and I have come to love, I’d say is one of the best Americans and Patriots I’ve ever known”
– Johnny Cash