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Sunday, June 07, 2015

Remembering Ronnie Gilbert

Ronnie Gilbert died yesterday at age 88, of natural causes. When I was young, her voice was a regular presence in my home because my parents were such fans of The Weavers, the folk quartet made up of Gilbert, Lee Hays, Fred Zimmerman, and Pete Seeger, who gained fame in the 1940s, were blacklisted during the red scare of the 1950s, yet continued to sing and perform -- together and separately -- into the 1960s. In 2006, The Weavers received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy Award. Sadly, with Gilbert's death, Fred Hellerman remains the only living original member of the group.

In 1980, the Weavers triumphantly reunited for a one-off concert at Carnegie Hall, their last performance together. The movie "Wasn't That A Time" (which is unfortunately no longer available) documented that event, as well as the preparations for it, and included this wonderful scene of singer/songwriter Holly Near explaining how Gilbert inspired her to throw her head back and perform with gusto...