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A Family Folk Act

Pete Seeger and grandson sing out.

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Tao Rodriguez-Seeger, Pete Seeger, and Guy Davis  

Parents who grew up with the melodious tunes and smart lyrics of Pete Seeger may have trouble tolerating the bubblegum pop currently marketed as kids’ music. On August 24, folk-loving families have a rare chance to hear Seeger, now 89 years young, play with his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger and the bluesman Guy Davis. Bring the whole family along to this “Roots of American Music” kids’ show at Lincoln Center’s south plaza, where everyone can sing along with Seeger’s call-and-response versions of classics like “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” and “Midnight Special.” Just don’t expect the man to be seated. “We stand!” says Seeger’s grandson. “If the day comes when he has to sit down to perform, he will say, ‘Not a chance.’ He likes to stomp his feet. ‘Abiyoyo’ requires some running around.” Rodriguez-Seeger, a child of the seventies, says that his family always sang together at home, and that he first played publicly with his grandfather when he was 16. “I knew my grandpa was a musician. I didn’t know the extent of his fame. We were out visiting family in San Francisco and he was playing with Arlo Guthrie. I said, ‘You have to stop singing these old songs in Spanish about peace and justice.’” Grandpa’s “embarrassing” accent wasn’t quite cutting it with his bilingual grandson, who says, “I wanted him to roll his r’s and things like that. He said, ‘If it’s so bad, you come up onstage.’ And I did.” For this New York concert, the performers span three generations. “It’s lovely how we can all play together as a unit but have our own voices and own perspectives,” says Rodriguez-Seeger. “It’s a nice metaphor. I wish more people would take the time to play this way.”

8/24, 11 a.m. Lincoln Center, south plaza, W. 62nd St. nr. Columbus Ave. (212-875-5766 or lincolncenter.org); free.


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