Tuesday, January 20, 2009


a pre inaugural musical offering

Rockin out with Stevie at the Lincoln memorial

Woodie Guthrie reincarnated.

Pete Seeger at 89 years of age. Proud survivor of the first great depression, the Dust Bowl days, the McCarthy inquisition. "An inconvenient artist” banned from commercial tv for decades. Tireless troubadour for international disarmament, civil rights, and environmental justice.

Still subversive after all these years. With a twinkle in his eye, and with Mitch Miller diligence, he led the crowd in call and response of the Woodie Guthrie classic This Land is your Land. Seizing the opportunity to inject the original lyrics of the song that have been diluted and whitewashed over the years. Eerily poignant today:

There was a big high wall there that tried to stop me;
Sign was painted, it said private property;
But on the back side it didn't say nothing;
That side was made for you and me.

In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

Rocking out at the Lincoln Memorial on a bright winter day with Stevie Wonder, Usher and Shakira.

Stevie Wonder, transcendent spirit, consummate muse, transmits his Innervision, a chance to move to “Higher Ground” on the stage at the Lincoln Memorial. The hallowed ground where Marian Anderson sang in 1939 after being barred from Constitution Hall and where Martin Luther King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

Stevie on objective optimism.Being optimistic doesn't come by just being there. You've got to see both sides of it so I think I'm pretty objective. Obviously, I know the other side of the coin. I know there are haters, but I think that hating is unacceptable if we want to move forward. We have to find a common goal and a common bond. I think that we can.”

Obama responding to a Rolling Stone interview question asking him to identify his musical heroes. "If I had one, it would have to be Stevie Wonder.”

An ebullient crowd. Shaking off the oppressive mantle of fear, embracing the audacity of hope.

Even though times are hard and unimaginable damage has been done, we take this moment to celebrate together the beginning of a new day. In the open air in a place prepared by a common narrative, we celebrate how far we’ve come together and we gather up our strength for the journey ahead.

Yes we do

Yes we do

Yes we do.


the walking man said...

*Sigh* C-span didn't broadcast the concert and I am way to cheap for HBO

gabrielle said...

the walking man - I'm in the same boat. We just have basic cable for reception and C-span. Reduced to U-tube, twice removed. The sense of celebration still came through!