A Production of The Folk Life ( Inc. 1976)
John McLaughlin and Jamie Downs, Editors



My life so far: one year in New York, where I was born; seventeen years in Washington, DC; two years at college in Cambridge, Massachusetts; a rogue year in Holland; three years via thumb-and-knapsack around Europe, Russia, China and environs; thirty-five years in England – having children, touring and growing up. At the age of 59, I moved back to the United States – Asheville, North Carolina. I started playing music with my brothers Mike and Pete again. I celebrated my 70th birthday at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London. Now I’m thinking of moving once or twice more.

A compulsive traveler, my ‘home’ seems to be wherever I am. A Gemini, I have two hearts, one in England with my children, grandchildren and friends and the other in the United States with my birth family, friends, and the climate. I adapt easily whenever I land and am always nosy about the folks. Other people’s lives fascinate me and I feel it’s important to involve myself, or get involved, with local politics and the social scene, wherever I am.

 Being alive right now is totally absorbing – could it be otherwise in such turbulent times? We are at an unprecedented crossroads in human history and I want to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. I sing the old songs – those are my roots. I make new songs as a tree makes new branches: a pleasurable duty. So many issues, so many subjects: feminism, poverty, racism, jobs, ecology, violence, love….

 My children no longer expect me to return ‘home’ to England. I may surprise them. Every time I visit the UK, I think to myself, “Peggy, just retire and come back to where you’ve spent half of your life. It’s possible your kids and their kids still need you. Lie in the bluebell fiends in spring, complain about the weather in summer, hanker after the colourful USA autumns, enjoy the National Health Service in your winter years and be part of the mature, historic English England year-round.” Gemini strikes again – I’m still in the USA and loving it. That’s my life – so far.

 Peggy Seeger,  July 2005


[Peggy turns (turned?) 71 on June 17, 2006. Almost on cue, here’s a copy of the fine 1993 compilation CD, Peggy Seeger: The Folkways Years 1955-1992: Songs of Love and Politics (Smithsonian-Folkways), courtesy of Josh Dunson, of Real People’s Music. Thank you, Josh – it’s well worth getting hold of, with such gems as “First Time Ever I Saw Your Face” (written for Peggy by Ewan MacColl) and her own, “Gonna Be an Engineer,” among its highlights, besides an autobiographical gem, “Song of My Self,” and the beautifully paired, “My Son” and, “Song for Calum.” Some albums age like fine wine. This is, as you’d expect, one of them. But see the two-part discography on Peggy’s website, for complete details of her long and still winding career.]

Photos of East Stroudsburg University concert, 2000
by Jamie Downs