Feminist first lady-lovin' lady of folk Peggy Seeger is once
again breaking new ground with her latest release, Folksploitation,
a highly original sampling of her traditional folk vocals over dub
beats that looks set to be the soundtrack to the summer. DIVA
caught up with her at home in Oxford where she lives with her
partner, Pyper Scott
Given that folk and electronic music are not usually
happy bedfellows, what made you break with convention and release
I was actually trained as a classical musician but when I first
came over here I was known as a purist folk musician. Then I got
involved in the Radio Ballads and The Critics Group - the latter
was formed with the purpose of bringing theatre into the folk clubs
at the time; this got me using theatre techniques on stage and
writing songs that were different from folk songs - I've created
some songs that were fairly far out and in actual fact a lot of
what I have written isn't purist folk in any way. However, this
album is breaking with convention in the sense that it is breaking
the musical form and that is something I don't do in my own
How did you get involved with Broadcaster?
Broadcaster is a friend of my daughter and when I saw what he
did with the Radio Ballads on a previous album I thought this is a
nice idea. So I went round and recorded fifty songs for him,
unaccompanied. He chose seven from the fifty and this album is the
result. I think he is a genius, the way he picks things out - I
wouldn't know how to start with a children's rhyming game and end
up withthree. And withgonehe combined two songs that were
completely different; one calledspace girland the other
calledLazarus,which is a chain gang song - it's mind-boggling.
What have you got in store for us with your next
My recent albums have all been folk music or concerts and I'm
now doing some songwriting with other people - something I've never
done, ever. I've written one song with my son called "Swim to the
Stars" which is kind of like a folk song but I've written another
with him called "Flowers By The Roadside"which is not a folk song
at all. I'm also writing a song with Liz Lawrence who is just 21
and that will be very interesting, because so far everyone else
I've written with is over 50. So the next album will be a little
bit out of the box - but not as out of box as Folksploitation.
As a longstanding feminist, socialist and activist what
do you think are the main challenges facing young women
Men are making a mess of the world. As a gender they are
dangerous - not individual men you understand. The only thing that
can stop them is determined women and men who don't want this to
happen. I read recently that rape and violence against women is
going up, and it will because society is breaking down. But the way
it is talked about on the radio and television is calmly and "yes
we must do something about this" but there is no outrage. Half of
humanity is at risk from the other half of humanity - and where is
the anger, the outrage, the fury?
And what can we do about it?
Get outraged. But the minute you get outraged, especially as a
woman with a woman partner, they think you are a man hater and I'm
not a man hater in any way. I think that probably the only way is
getting together in women's groups and tackling individual issues
rather than trying to fight the whole thing. One of the main ones
I've been part of is pro-choice - a woman's right to have or not to
have a child. Also educating women so we are less under the sway of
the patriarchy - we don't know how much of a patriarchy it is, it's
something we women have just got used to - we need to educate
ourselves to get a broader picture of what is really going on.
Any particular message for DIVA readers?
Keep blowing the horn. We have a right to be as we are.
For more information about Peggy and her UK tour visit: www.peggyseeger.com.
Check out her new video, below.