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NEWPORT FOLK FESTIVAL, July, 1966: Paul Winter was there to take part in an afternoon presentation on ethnic instruments, to play on a Ugandan log xylophone along with Andrew and Paul Tracey, two musicians from South Africa whom he’d met in New York where they were in the cast of a Broadway show called “Wait a Minim,” a satire against apartheid.

As they were rehearsing on stage, early in the afternoon, the three of them sitting cross-legged on the floor around this “amadinda,” Paul was concentrating hard on his part, to keep in hocket-rhythm with the others, when he suddenly became aware of a body lying on the floor next to him, with its head trying to get underneath the log bars of this xylophone. It was Pete Seeger! He wanted to see how the instrument was constructed, and then to know how the three-part polyphony worked. This led to a backstage conversation with Pete about the magic of traditional instruments, and he said: “I just got a bunch of Trinidadian steel-drums that I’m learning to play,” and Paul replied: “Well I just brought back a bunch of Carnival drums from Brazil.” Pete said: “Why don’t you bring them up to my place sometime?”

Paul's visit to Pete’s mountaintop log cabin in Beacon, New York, overlooking the Hudson River, opened the door to a friendship of a lifetime. Paul had found the mentor for his life’s work. Over the years, they had numerous collaborations, culminating in his 1996 album pete, which Paul produced in his barn, and won Pete his first Grammy® . Pete was a great American troubadour, an Abe Lincoln of music, who embraced the Earth with a grand heart. He was a true warrior for the Earth, and our community of life. If Paul Winter had to sum-up the message of his life journey in one simple word, it would be the two-letter word “us.” Pete was all about us: everybody under the sun.


from Everybody Under the Sun: Voices of Solstice (The Singers), released December 6, 2019
Pete Seeger / voice, 12-string guitar
Café / percussion


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Paul Winter Litchfield

Paul Winter is a seven-time Grammy-winning saxophonist, whose sextet was the first jazz group to perform at the White House in 1962. His second group, the Paul Winter Consort, interweaves sounds from the natural world with classical and ethnic traditions, and the spontaneous spirit of jazz. Their annual Winter Solstice Celebrations and Earth Mass are among the most popular events in New York. ... more

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