Biography

 
Music is in his blood.  Fusing the folk styles of his family heritage with contemporary rock-n-roll, Tao Seeger’s music breaks all barriers of traditional folk bringing a unique and distinctive sound to the table.

Born in Poughkeepsie, New York, Tao is the eldest grandchild of folk singer Pete Seeger.  Tao spent his childhood in Nicaragua where his father, Emilio Rodriguez, was a war correspondent, making documentary films about the Sandinista revolution.  With little access to pop music in Nicaragua, Tao cherished his AC/DC and Metallica cassettes as well as the two tapes he had of his grandfather’s music.  Surrounded by the Nicaraguan revolution, here began the merging of rock'n'roll and folk music that would come to influence Tao in his musical career.

After nine years in Nicaragua, Tao returned to the United States and moved into the home of his grandparents, Pete and Toshi Seeger.  Listening to his grandfather perform, Tao became frustrated with his grandfather’s poor Spanish and approached him.   The legendary banjo picker turned the criticism around saying, “Well if it’s so bad, why don’t you help me out?”  In 1986, a fourteen year old Tao joined his grandpa Pete at a Hiroshima Day rally in front of an audience of more than half a million people in Japan for their first concert together.   Thus began the musical partnership between Tao and Pete that would take them around the world together.

Tao is co-founder of the folk/rock groups RIG (Rodriguez/Irion/Guthrie) with Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion and The Mammals with Mike & Ruthy Merenda.   The Tao Seeger Band is a revolving cast of wonderful characters including Laura Cortese on fiddle and vocals, Jason Crosby on keyboards, Charlie Rose on pedal steel and banjo, Jake Silver on bass and Robin MacMillan on drums.  Their music can be described as a fusion of rock'n'roll and folk with a “rootsy and psychedelic” sound.  The newly formed band has performed at an impressive lineup of events including the 2009 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Newport Folk Festival and The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders at Madison Square Garden where they stood in as the evening’s house band.  Together they have also toured throughout the northeast and Denmark.  You can catch the Tao Seeger Band on tour this summer and at the Mountain Jam festival, Hudson River Clearwater festival, Winnipeg Folk festival, Vancouver Folk festival and the Newport Folk festival.

In 2007, Tao was featured in the Emmy winning documentary film, Pete Seeger - The Power of Song, where he performed at Carnegie Hall with Arlo Guthrie in his annual Thanksgiving concert.  In January 2009, Tao performed at the inaugural concert for Barack Obama alongside Bruce Springsteen and Pete in front of over 1.5 million people.  An exciting day but the chilling temperature proved to be too much for his guitar, which cracked during their inaugural performance.  However, Tao will always consider it his lucky guitar because the President Elect took the time to sign it, “This Land Is Your Land – Barack Obama.”  The May 2009 performance at Madison Square Garden was filmed for the PBS series Great Performances and will be made into a DVD that will be released later this year.  Recently Tao was approached by Sesame Street to write and record two original songs for Plaza Sesamo, the Spanish edition of Sesame Street, and star in their music videos.

Career Highlights

  • Three-week tour of India with Pete Seeger in 1996
  • Performed with the Salt Lake City Children’s Dance Company for the 2002 Winter Olympic opening ceremonies
  • Organized the Free Speech Festival in 2006
  • Singing at the annual School of the Americas rally in Columbus, GA for tens of thousands of protesters who’d taken a vow of peaceful assembly
  • Precious Friend recording at Wolf Trap w/ Arlo & Pete
  • Tao performed at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration with Pete Seeger and Bruce Springsteen
  • Performed to a sold out crowd at Madison Square Garden for The Clearwater Concert: Creating the Next Generation of Environmental Leaders, an event celebrating his grandfather’s 90th birthday.
  • Has performed dates all around the world and headline some of the biggest festivals with his Grandfather Pete Seeger
  • Recorded 2 songs for Plaza Sesamo (Spanish version of Sesame Street) and will be a special guest on the show for an upcoming episode (fall 2009)