A successful artist and activist, Peter Yarrow’s talent is legendary. His gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs that Peter, Paul & Mary have recorded, including “Puff, The Magic Dragon,” “Day Is Done,” and “Light One Candle.” This musical creativity has always gone hand-in-hand with Yarrow’s commitment to social change. Read More >
“If I were unable to sense the world around me and if I were unable to care about what I saw, I would never be able to sing folk songs. We reach for a sense of community and mutual respect as we try to create a more just society.” Read More >
And so Peter Yarrow achieved his goal. Since the sixties, and for three decades thereafter, he wrote and sang folk songs…folk songs filled with a sense of purpose and strong ethical values that energized his work, his vision, and his dream. He created history as a founder and leader of Peter, Paul & Mary, bringing the trio to international acclaim while advancing the great social movements of the time.
An admirer said of them, “I saw this family in times that tried men’s souls. I saw it in peace and I saw it in times of war, but I never once saw one of its members falter or flinch before any duty, whether social or patriotic.”
Peter Yarrow’s daughter, Bethany, also witnessed some of the most important political and social events that shaped her generation. As a child, she listened to her father sing about the struggle for human rights and self-determination – the message and spirit of these songs never left her.
When she was in high school, she joined her father as a member of various human rights delegations to places like the Philippines, the Middle East, Guatemala and El Salvador. Later, on her own, Bethany traveled to Nicaragua and South Africa, watching with maturing eyes as the world wrestled with fundamental moral and political dilemmas, the same issues that informed the songs of her youth. She inherited the Yarrow legacy: a heightened sense of each person’s ability and responsibility to act on his or her own beliefs. At a very young age she had learned what it means to be a citizen of the world.
“During this formative process of witnessing,” said Bethany, “I realized that I had to find my own voice with which to speak of hope and the possibility of change.” Bethany’s voice, strong and clear, emerged powerfully in her 1994 documentary film, Mama Awethu! (Power to the Mothers), the story of five black African women, triumphantly struggling against the apartheid system in the poorest townships of Cape Town, South Africa.
Today, father and daughter share the stage with a mutual sense of purpose. They touch our lives as activists, focusing on responsibility and new possibilities as we enter the 21st century. Songs of conscience and commitment accompany an inspiring and moving lecture-performance. As they sing together we recall our own ethical root and rededicate ourselves to the dream of a fairer and more just society.
Peter and Bethany Yarrow teach us that it is possible for children and parents to evolve a deep, meaningful relationship; that they can grow together, and learn from one another. They prove through their music, their words, and their compelling regard for each other, that the generations can find a common meeting ground and forge a partnership that advances the vision of a brighter future for all of us. Read Less ^
"It was a lovely, joyous evening for our community. Peter and Bethany were wonderful, both in their performance and in their interactions with the members of our community. We couldn't be more pleased with how it all turned out. And it was a personal joy for me to be a part of it."
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