Peggy Quotes

You might say Peggy is an artist who needs no introduction. Yet, here she revisits many traditional songs from her vast repertoire with finer voice and deeper appreciation than any of her previous recordings. She can make a traditional song sound timeless, yet as current as if written yesterday. She also includes one moving, bittersweet original song about growing old. This is the recording you want to play for a younger singer and say: "This is the way traditional music remains alive." - Rich Warren, WFMT

Peggy Quotes 2

A lifetime has gone into reaching the place she sings from here. The result is a quietly compelling album (Everything Changes) of songs that took a lifetime to be able to write and sing. A most eloquent and rich album.
— Michael Tearson


Peggy Seeger - Long CV


mother: Ruth Porter Crawford Seeger  (1901-1953)
father:  Charles Louis Seeger II (1886-1979)

married January 25 1977 to  Ewan MacColl (né James Miller) (1915-1989) 

children:  Neill (1959), Calum (1963), Kitty (December 1972)

civil union: December 15, 2006 to Irene Pyper-Scott (1947-

schooling:  attended Rosemary Infant School, Leland Junior High, BCC High School (all in
            Bethesda, MD)
          2 years at Radcliffe College, 1953-55
          1 year (one course only, women's’ studies) at Open University, England

career to date: singing, songwriting, making music for film, television, radio, lecturing on    feminism, songmaking, singing, folk music and nuclear power.


1) RADIO WORK - Peggy worked as collaborator, sometimes as co-author, always as music     director and arranger and accompanist .                                   


1957    -    The Ballad of John Axon:  a true Casey Jones story about a  Stockport railwayman.  BBC’s entry for the 1958 Italia Prize.       
1958    -    Song of a Road:  about the building of the Britain’s first motor highway, the M-1.               
1959    -    Singing the Fishing: dealing with the herring fishing industry. Winner of the Italia Prize (documentary category) for 1959.
1960    -    The Big Hewer:  dealing with Britain’s coal miners.
1961    -    The Body Blow:  dealing with five people paralysed by polio.  The first
    of the radio ballads to deal with a non-industrial subject.
1962    -    On the Edge:  about Britain’s teenagers.               
1963    -    The Fight Game:  dealing with professional boxing.
1964    -    The Travelling People:   about Britain’s nomadic peoples.

OTHER RADIO WORK with Ewan MacColl
1966    -    Romeo and Juliet  - not a radio ballad but related in terms of radio        
technique, this was an hour-long modern version of Shakespeare’s play,  improvised and performed by the London Critics Group. Broadcast by the BBC and produced by Charles Parker.
1968    -    The Song Carriers:  twelve half-hour programmes of English, Irish and Scots traditional song.  Devised by Ewan MacColl, produced by Charles Parker.

2. TELEVISION  (usually in the capacity of singer, accompanist or music director and adviser. All these programs were done with Ewan MacColl.)

        1962    -Sing in the New:  singing out the old year and welcoming in the new.      
                Granada Television.
        1964    -An Impression of Love:  an impressionistic portrait of lovers and their     songs.     Directed by Adrian Malone.  Grampian Television, Aberdeen.
        1966    -The Irishmen,  about the Irish workers who participated in the building of the Victoria Underground Line in London.  Ewan wrote the songs, Peggy arranged them for singers and instrumentalists and the program was conceived and produced by Philip Donnellan for the BBC. Thought to be too brutal for public viewing, it was never broadcast.
        1983    -The Stewarts:  a portrait of Scots travellers.  Directed by Philip Donnellan.
        1985    -Daddy, What Did You Do in the Strike? - an hour-long program on Ewan.
                Granada Television, produced and directed by David Boulton.   
        1990    -The Ballad of Ewan MacColl:  a posthumous program on Ewan, produced
             by Tim May, BBC.

NOTE: Between 1959 and 1970, Peggy Seeger wrote music and directed musicians in the studio for a for a number of TV programs and films, Before the Mast, Singing the Fishing, The Fight Game, Coventry Kids, Trio in the Sun, Jackie Stewart. 

3.THEATRE - administrator, stage manager, actor, singer, musician, conductor


This was an annual event which took place at The New Merlin’s Cave in Marjorie Street, London for the first six weeks of the year from 1965-1971.  Each Festival  consisted of skits, monologues, songs, readings, sound effects and dances which blended into a imaginative and colourful representation of the past year’s news. The Critics Group collected and catalogued material for the first nine months of the year: news items, quotes from politicians, pop songs, ideas of all sorts. During October and November, Ewan drew up a script and wrote songs.  Then everyone was involved in assembling lighting, props,  and costumes. Peggy was responsible for stage management, musical arrangments and training of the singers.


publications in collaboration with Ewan MacColl

The Singing Island (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl)  An anthology of British folksongs (Mills Music, London, 1960).

Songs for the Sixties    (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl) A collection of topical songs     (Workers Music Association, London, 1961).    

The Peggy Seeger-Ewan MacColl Songbook (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl) Contemporary songs by the two authors, but     mostly by Ewan (Oak Publications,     New York, 1963).

I’m a Freeborn Man    (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl)  Contemporary songs by the two authors, but mostly by Ewan. (Oak Publications, New York, 1968).

Shellback  (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl)  A monograph on the life of Ben Bright, sailor under sail and steam. (History Workshop Pamphlets, 1973).

Travellers Songs from England and Scotland (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl)  An    
anthology of songs the two authors had collected personally between 1961 and 1976  (Routledge and Kegan Paul, London, 1977).

Till Doomsday in the Afternoon  (in collaboration with Ewan MacColl)  The folklore of a family     of Scots travelling people, the Stewarts of Blairgowrie (Manchester University Press, London, 1986).

publications in collaboration with others

* music editor of Traditional Singers and Songs from Ontario (Edith Fowke, Folklore Associates, Hatboro, Philadelphia, 1965)

* music editor of Folk Music of North America (Alan Lomax, Cassell & Co., London, 1960)

solo publications

* founder and editor of The New City Songster, Britain’s No. One Little Annual Contemporary Songbook; 21 volumes dating from 1965-1985.
    * author of The Peggy Seeger Songbook, Warts and All  (Music Sales, 1998)

    * author of The Essential  Ewan MacColl Songbook  (Music Sales, 1999)


        23 solo albums, not counting reissues and recent compilations; a hundred or more jointly     with Ewan MacColl, including the radio ballads, Long Harvest, Blood and Roses, The Paper       Stage. She has recorded both contemporary and traditional songs. Her latest CD,
        Everything Changes, is due in September 2014 (Signet Music).

        Peggy Seeger was co-founder and director, with Ewan MacColl, of Blackthorne


        She was one of the residents of the Ballads and Blues Club (re-named the Singers Club in     1961) from 1957 until the club closed in 1992.  

        Folksinging tours:  Too many to mention individually.  Sang with Ewan MacColl from     1959-1989; then with Irene Pyper-Scott as a duo (No Spring Chickens) from 1990-1994.
        Now travels solo.
        Below is a sample of 50 years of singing appearances on stage, radio
        and television, solo or with Ewan MacColl or Irene Pyper-Scott.

Bolshoi Ballet Stage (Moscow)
London Singers Club (30 years)
Royal Festival Hall (London)
Queen Elisabeth Hall (London)
Women in Music Festival (London)
Gloria Hunniford Show (London)
English Folk Song and Dance Society (London)
Cologne Workers’ Music Celebration (Germany)
Stockholm Royal Command Concert (Sweden)
The Late, Late Show (Dublin)
Conference of World Protest Singers (Havana)
Wayne Mowat Show (New Zealand)
Milan Opera House (Italy)
Como Music Festival (Italy)
Vancouver Folk Festival (Canada)           
Edmonton Folk Festival (Canada)
Mariposa Folk Festival (Canada)
Winnipeg Folk Festival (Canada)
five tours of Australia
one tour of New Zealand
        plus 50 years of touring Europe and the British Isles (solo and with Ewan MacColl) independently and under the auspices of the Music Council, the Arts Council, Centre 42, and     numerous folk, union and women's’ groups.

United States
Carnegie Hall, Town Hall (New York)
Great American Music Hall (San Francisco)
Studs Terkel Show (Chicago)
Orchestra Hall (Chicago)
Gene Shay Show (Philadelphia)
Old Town School of Folk Music (Chicago)
Philadelphia Folk Festival
Old Songs Festival (Albany)
Freight and Salvage (Berkeley)
Fiddle and Bow Festival
Common Ground Festival
Augusta Heritage Week
        plus touring and lecturing solo since 1994 from coast-to-coast USA

selected media shows concentrating on Peggy:

A KIND OF EXILE   (1971 Granada TV 60-minute documentary)
PEGGY SEEGER    (7 half-hour BBC radio programs devoted to Peggy’s life; see “awards and honours” below)
          plus numerous protracted interviews and features on local, national and
          international media


    Her best-known songs are The Ballad of Springhill and I'm Gonna Be an Engineer. Her songbook (above) contains 150 of her best songs.

        director of Ewan MacColl, Ltd (London, England) (1959-
        director of Golden Egg Productions, Ltd (London, England) (1990-1994)
        director of Blackthorne Records, Ltd (London, England) (1975-1995)
        Visiting Scholar at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts), teaching
            songwriting (Fall Semester, 2007)


1960, Prix Italia for "Singing the Fishing" (with Ewan MacColl and Charles Parker)

1970, Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger received jointly an award for the most ambitious and successful recording project of the year for the Argo ten-volume ballad series, The Long Harvest.

1986, Workers Music Co-Operative (Dublin), brass engraving of a ship (with Ewan MacColl)

1987, English Folk Dance and Song Society's gold badge for service to folk music (with Ewan MacColl)

1995, Peggy received the Sony Silver Radio Award in the Specialist Music Section for a series done by herself and Jim Lloyd for Folk on 2, a five-part series dealing with Peggy’s life. (Sony UK Ltd. sponsors the radio awards.) She has since added two more parts to that series.

2009, Grammy nomination in Best Traditional Folk Album category for "Bring Me Home" (she didn't win because her competition was Pete)

2011, honorary Doctor of Arts from the University of Salford

2014, first winner of Women in Music Inspirational Artist award from "Music Week"

2015, Folk Alliance Lifetime Achievement Award

2015, Best Original Song award in BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards for "Swim to the Star" (with Calum MacColl)



The one and only full-length biography, ‘Peggy Seeger, A Life of Love, Music and Politics’, by Jean R Freedman was published February 2017 (University of Illinois Press) and Peggy’s memoir, ‘First Time Ever’ will be published in October 2017 (Faber & Faber).

She is represented by:
Management: Kerry Harvey-Piper, Red Grape Music (e),
(t) +44 (0)7976 272139

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