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Jennifer Lopez, Plus Pete Seeger, Bernie Sanders, Sea Shanties, and More at No Depression

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Five people stand onstage with instruments: a man with a double bass, a woman with a four-stringed guitar a man holding the neck of the woman's guitar, a man with a bajo sexto, a man with a jawbone, and a man playing a harp.
Sones de Mexico Ensemble is one of the groups featured in our latest column in No Depression, for their rendition of “Esta Tierra Es Tuya,” a Spanish-language version of “This Land is Your Land.” Sones de México Ensemble performed in the Library of Congress Coolidge Auditorium, 2015. (L-r): Juan Díes, Lorena Iñiguez, Juan Rivera, Gonzalo Cordova, Eric Hines, Zacbé Pichardo. Photo by Stephen Winick for the American Folklife Center.

Over at No Depression, the journal of roots music, In the Roots in the Archive column, which is at this link, read my musings about the 2021 inauguration, including Jennifer Lopez’s rendition of “This Land is Your Land.” I write about Lopez, but also about the song’s journey from its author Woody Guthrie to its performances at the Obama and Biden inaugurations. You’ll read about the song’s appearance at the 2009 inauguration, where it was led by Bruce Springsteen, Pete Seeger, and Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. We’ll also revisit a classic rendition of “This Land” by one of the unlikely stars of thousands of social media posts surrounding the 2021 inauguration: Senator Bernie Sanders.

Embedded throughout the piece you’ll find some video treasures from the AFC archive: three versions of “This Land is Your Land” sung entirely or partially in Spanish.

We’ll also take a side trip into the January 2021 sea shanty craze on social media, and hear Springsteen’s version of the classic shanty “Pay Me My Money Down,” which he learned from Pete Seeger. And, of course, we include the Alan Lomax field recording of the Georgia Sea Island Singers, an archival treasure which inspired Seeger, Springsteen, and hundreds more.

Here’s that link again–please check it out!

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