20240510: Friday 10th May 2024: Peggy Seeger in Conversation


Peggy Seeger in conversation with Mark Walsh

Floorspots: Martin Baxter;  Lara Gisborne

At the Golden Hind, 355 Milton Road, Cambridge CB4 1SP

7:45pm (Doors open 7:15pm)

Entry: £16(door), £15(advance), £14(members).

Peggy Seeger is totally unique. Sister of Pete Seeger (the great-grandfather of USA folk revivial) and partner of the late Ewan MacColl, theorist and practitioner of UK folk revival), she has carved a special niche for herself in both these countries. Trained in both classical and folk music, her experience spans 55 years of performing, travel and songwriting.  She'll sing an unaccompanied traditional ballad, follow it with a tall tale about a circus high-diver, then launch into a topical song about drugs, war, hormones, politicians, unions, women, love or ecology. A multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, 5-string banjo, autoharp, English concertina and Appalachian dulcimer), she is probably best known for her feminist songs (such as Gonna Be an Engineer) and for The Ballad of Springhill, which latter is rapidly becoming regarded as a traditional song
Born in 1935, she regards herself as "seasoned and in my prime". She has has made 23 solo recordings and has participated in over a hundred recordings with other artists. A native North American, she made her home in England with MacColl for 35 years.  She returned to the USA for sixteen years but has returned permanently to the UK where her 3 children and 9 grandchldren live. She regards England as Home.

Recording in the past for Folkways, Rounder Records and Appleseed Recordings, her 2014 album Everything Changes, was released on her own label, Signet Music. The one and only full-length authorized biography, ‘Peggy Seeger: A Life of Love, Music and Politics’ by Jean R. Freedman was published in 2017 (University of Illinois Press), and Peggy’s own memoir, ‘First Time Ever’ was published in October 2017 (Faber & Faber).



Mark Walsh is a presenter, producer, and journalist for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire, and regularly presented the station’s Folk Show on Sunday evenings from 2021 until it finished in September last year. Mark has also presented classical music programmes for Radio Cambridgeshire and Cambridge 105 Radio, and is a film critic for both radio stations as well as for the Cambridge Independent and a number of film websites


Martin Baxter: After being put off music by childhood piano lessons, Martin finally began playing guitar in his late teens, almost by accident when a friend left a guitar with him for safekeeping and then didn’t return for it for two years, by which time Martin had learned to play it. Martin’s mid-Atlantic DNA may be the root of what has made him especially interested in exploring musical styles and traditions from different times and places, often creatively adapting them, or else just feeding them as inspiration into his own original compositions. Some decades, and a lot of songs later, Martin brings a theatrical sensibility to his musical performances, sometimes demonstrating unexpected subtleties of wit, emotion and commentary.


Lara Gisbornes’s gentle songs are inspired by family stories, nature and small natural moments in life. Her warm voice complements the guitar and range of images, atmospheres and evocative descriptions. Musical influences range from Everything but the Girl, to her Yugoslav heritage, to folk, classical and 80s pop.