Filming the World, One Song at a Time: The Films of Pete and Toshi Seeger

Presented in collaboration with Kronos Festival, 2019

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 • 7:30 p.m.

Kanbar Forum


Note: Limited capacity; first come, first served. There will be no Museum access during this program.

As a musician, Pete Seeger is considered the essential revivalist of folk music whose commitment to social justice and highlighting a range of cultures has had lasting impact.

His creating and making music reflected the complexity of the times. Less known is that Pete and his wife, Toshi Seeger, shared an interest in film as an expressive medium. Beginning in the mid-1950s, they documented on film the music, dance, games, and occupational lore of the many places they visited around the world. Tonight, join us for a selection of these films, which offer a look into deeply rooted musical styles from across the globe, and a study of the joy and grace of the musicians the Seegers encountered during their travels.

In 2003, the Seegers donated the collection of over 500 reels to the American Folklife Center (AFC) of the Library of Congress. AFC archivist and curator Dr. Todd Harvey will introduce the screenings and host a post-screening discussion, offering further insight into the rich and dynamic film work of Pete and Toshi Seeger.

Dr. Todd Harvey is a reference archivist, curator of the Alan Lomax Collection, and acquisitions coordinator for the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress. He also curates the Center’s Pete and Toshi Seeger Film Collection. Todd holds graduate degrees in music composition from Ohio State University and in library science from the Catholic University of America. His ebook Michigan-I-O: Alan Lomax and the 1938 Library of Congress Folk-Song Expedition was published in 2013 by the Library of Congress and Dust-to-Digital records, and is available through the iBookstore. His book The Formative Dylan: Transmission and Stylistic Influences, 1961–1963, is well known among Dylan enthusiasts.

Presented in collaboration with Kronos Festival 2019, which takes place Thursday, May 30–Saturday, June 1 at the SFJAZZ Center. As part of the festival, on June 1, Todd Harvey will offer a free talk about Seeger at 5:00 p.m. And the Kronos Quartet will celebrate the music of Seeger with Sam Amidon, Meklit Hadero, and others at 7:30 p.m.