Peter Yarrow is one third of Pete, Paul & Mary and his gift for songwriting has produced some of the most moving songs that fabled trio recorded, including Puff, the Magic Dragon, Day is Done, Light One Candle, and The Great Mandala.
And along with that musical creativity came his commitment to social change. "When I was in high school, I heard The Weavers sing If I had a Hammer at Carnegie Hall," he recalled. "It was inspiring, and it showed me the extraordinary effect that music of conscience can have."
"As an artist, I feel a synergy at work here," Peter observed. "Because when people feel empowered and raise their voices, that, naturally, will mean raising their voices in song. The emergence of artists like Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls is the handwriting on the wall.”
He finds cause for optimism in following the model for change that sixties activism produced. "People may say 'What can I do? I'm only one person.' But we've proven that when we come together and speak our piece there is no way the power structure can avoid being attentive.”
Apart from his work with Peter, Paul & Mary, he has recorded four solo albums, and co-written and produced the 1977 #1 hit for Mary McGregor, Torn Between Two Lovers.
Peter has explored his talents in filmmaking as well, producing the critically acclaimed You are What You Eat, and three animated television specials based on Puff, the Magic Dragon. An Emmy nomination rewarded these efforts.
Nurturing new songwriters is a concern that's been close to his heart ever since he helped launch the Newport Folk Festival in 1962. He also co-founded the Kerrville Folk Festival 25 years ago. "The recognition of new artists that are writing from the heart," Peter noted, "is the most positive and energizing of musical evolutions."