Stitcher for Podcasts

Get the App Open App
Bummer! You're not a
Stitcher Premium subscriber yet.
Learn More
Start Free Trial
$4.99/Month after free trial

Show Info

Episode Info

Episode Info:

At the time of this interview, the 84-year-old folk singer is still songwriting, touring, entertaining, informing, educating and inspiring as part of the great folk tradition that she embodies so well.

Born in 1935 to a folklorist and musicologist father and a mother who was an accomplished composer and music scholar, Peggy has lived her life surrounded by music and the great folk tradition. She learned to transcribe music at just 11 years old and the likes of Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly were visitors to her childhood home in Washington DC.

Her brother was the world-renowned singer and activist Pete Seeger who was famously attacked under the 1950s era of McCarthyism that fostered the so-called ‘red scare’ by the U.S government of the time.

Peggy has been on the road from a young age, hitchhiking around Europe at age 20, and being invited to perform in places like Russia, China and Denmark in her youth. In 1956 London, at the age of 21, she met her future husband, the legendary folk musician Ewan MacColl and they played a leading role in the British folk revival. The classic song The First Time Ever I saw Your Face was written by Ewan for Peggy.The pair remained together for over 30 years, until MacColl’s death in 1989.  In the period that followed, Peggy found love again and formed a civil partnership with Belfast-born New Zealand based singer Irene Pyper Scott and they have been a couple ever since.

Peggy plays 5-string banjo, guitar, Appalachian dulcimer, autoharp, English concertina and piano. She has written several hundred songs, covering everything from drugs, to war, hormones, politicians, unions, women, love and ecology.  Perhaps her best-known songs include Gonna Be an Engineer  (which has become one of the anthems of the women's' movement) and The Ballad of Springhill (about the 1958 Springhill, Nova Scotia, mining disaster, a song famously sung here in Ireland by Luke Kelly. 149 of her songs appear in her songbook, The Peggy Seeger Songbook, Warts and All. Overall, Peggy has made 24 solo records and collaborated with Ewan MacColl and others on countless more. She tells her fascinating life story in her award-winning memoir ‘First Time Ever’ published by Faber and Faber.

Peggy is a mother of 3 and grandmother of 9. Now 84, she is still living in England, writing songs and performing. She often plays alongside one of her two sons, Neill and Calum MacColl, who have been playing music with her since their teens. Her daughter Kitty, a graphic designer creates the artwork for her albums. Her daughter-in-law, co-founder of Red Grape Music, Kerry Harvey-Piper, is her manager. Her other daughter-in-law is the musician and member of Dream Academy, Kate St. John, with whom she co-wrote a track on her most recent album, ‘Everything Changes’.  

Read more »

Discover more stories like this.

Like Stitcher On Facebook


Show Info

Episode Options

Listen Whenever

Similar Episodes

Related Episodes