Peggy Seeger talks Folk.


 Peggy Seeger, one of the USA’s finest female folk singers, is coming to the American Museum at  Claverton Manor, Bath.  In an illustrated talk – due for Sunday October 2nd at 2pm – Peggy will explore what it is to be a maker of songs in the folk genre. 

Peggy Seeger © Dale Hubert
Peggy Seeger
© Dale Hubert

Born in 1935 into one of North America’s foremost folk music families, Peggy was also well schooled in the classic European music traditions, playing the piano, guitar, five-string banjo, autoharp, Appalachian dulcimer and English concertina.  

She cut her first record when she was eighteen and in her early twenties became a professional touring performer.  In 1959 she settled in London with Ewan MacColl and the MacColl/Seeger duo was at the forefront of the British folksong revival for the next three decades. Their innovative work incorporated folk techniques in songwriting and strengthened the ties between traditional and political music.  

The Radio Ballads, created for the BBC, were a turning point in her life, when music and politics melded together, and she learned to arrange music for radio scripts and direct musicians and singers in the studio.  She has also written for films and television and collaborated on books of folksongs with Edith Fowke, and Alan Lomax.

 She has made twenty-two solo LPs and has worked with other performers (Tom Paley, Mike Seeger, Guy Carawan, Ewan MacColl) on more records than she can count.  In the mid 1970s she began to concentrate on feminist and ecological issues, her best-known songs being The Ballad of Springhill and I’m Gonna Be an Engineer. 

After Ewan’s death in 1989, she joined Irene Pyper-Scott to form the singing duo No Spring Chickens.  In 1995 she and Jim Lloyd (producer of the BBC programme Folk on 2) won the Sony Silver award for a six-part series of half-hour shows dedicated to her life.  In 1994 she moved back to the USA and lived in Asheville, North Carolina, until 2006 when she moved to Boston to take up a teaching position at Northeastern University

In 1998 she published The Peggy Seeger Songbook, a collection of 149 of her own songs, and in 2001 also produced a comprehensive anthology of Ewan’s songs, The Essential Ewan MacColl Songbook.  Peggy tours solo as a singer and lecturer but, as airline travel and long distances no longer appeal, 2012 saw her last international tours and she now only travels in Great Britain, Ireland and Europe.  She lives in Oxford.. 

Admission is included in the Gardens only ticket price: 

Adult £5.50; over 60s and students £4.50; child (5-16 years) £3.50

Advance booking essential, tel. 01225 820868 or e-mail