|Performer at the ABQ Folk Fest|
The heritage is everyone's.
The 1960s have been written about ad nauseum. But what did they mean? We sometimes forget that the 1960s was a time of deep division in the land, from the war in Viet Nam, to racial injustice and rioting, to the cold war with the threat of nuclear annihilation, to the awareness of pollution and the environment, to women's issues and deep divisions between the young and old. We were a nation torn apart in many ways.
It was music of the 1960s that did something no politician, no statesman, no author, no poet, no intellectual could do. It gave a voice to the people. Soon we all were singing.
It was revolution in song, ideas in lyrics.
Now maybe — just maybe — it is starting to happen again.
Before there was Bob Dylan there was Pete Seeger. Before there was Arlo there was Woodie. The origins of the music that flourished in the 1960s had roots that run deep in the folk song soil of this nation.
It has been so forever at every turning point in our history. Yankee Doodle during the Revolutionary War. The Star Spangled Banner when the British invaded in 1812. The Battle Hymn of the Republic and Dixie during the Civil War. Over There during World War I. This Land is Your Land in the Great Depression, We Shall Overcome during the Civil Rights Movement, Blowing In The Wind during the anti-war movement, and so on. America comes together and unites in song.
I thought about this as I went from singing group to singing group — that movements come in waves, that we dig deep in our songbook to find was unites us. Or make up new songs.
|Silhouettes of song and singing at ABQ.|
I've lost some friends over the years. I've gained some new ones. On moonlit nights with music in the air you think of all of them. You think of the songs and the music made together. You think of the pain and the healing.
This nation needs healing now to build a new and sustainable world we can leave to our children and theirs and theirs.
I'd like to believe we can come together once more in music. A few chords, a few strums, some harmony and let it sweep across the land in a blaze.
Who knows. It happened before. It could happen again.
Everybody Get Together got to love one another right now — The Youngbloods