Toshi Seegeer was an American filmmaker, producer and activist, who specialised in folk music. This specialism linked nicely with her husband, Pete, who was an an American folk singer and activist himself.
Toshi Seeger set up several folk music festivals in the U.S.A, and discovered many famous folk musicians they made it big; these included Mississippi John Hurt, Tracy Chapman, and even her own husband Pete! Together, her and Pete founded their very own festival (Clearwater Festival), which they also insured provided both wheelchair access and sign language interpreters. That was a pretty big deal in the 70s and 80s! The pair also campaigned on a number of issues they cared about deeply, especially environmental issues.
‘Lost John’ is just one part of several works the pair recorded in Texas prisons, culminating with Toshi Seeger’s 1966 film Afro-American Work Songs in a Texas Prison.
What do you think the pair hoped to show by recording and filming prisoners singing?
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