Guy Carawan Biography

28 July 1927, Los Angeles, California, USA. Carawan plays guitar, banjo and hammer dulcimer, sings songs of protest and freedom and is a published author. He started listening to folk music when he was 21 years old, inspired by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and Burl Ives. After leaving college with a degree in sociology, he travelled to New York, and stayed for the next few years with Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Eric Darling and Frank Hamilton. Carawan developed his knowledge of the folk music of the Deep South by touring North Carolina and Tennessee in the company of Hamilton and Elliott. He first caught the attention of the British folk scene during his world tour in 1958. That same year, he recorded America At Play, with Peggy Seeger, an album largely made up of songs collected by Alan and John Lomax and Cecil Sharp. Both Guy and his wife Candie Carawan have recorded and performed together at rallies and in concert. The EP Guy Carawan, was released in 1960, though recorded in 1957, and included ‘Boll Weevil’ and ‘Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos’. Guy and Candie are also music directors of the Highlander Research & Education Centre, New Market, Tennessee, USA. The centre has a long history of supporting and supplying music in situations of social and political struggle. Come All You Coal Miners was a documentary work, produced by Guy, and featured performers such as Hazel Dickens, Sarah Gunning, George Tucker and Nimrod Workman. Green Rocky Road included songs and tunes from the Appalachians and the British Isles, and highlighted Carawan’s versatility on the variety of instruments. Both he and Candie have produced a number of documentary albums based on experiences in the south and Appalachia. Carawan continues to tour, still taking music to the people.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.