Oscar Brand Celebrates 69 Years of Hosting "Folksong Festival"

Oscar Brand is one amazing folksinger and historian. At 94, he has just hosted the 69th anniversary of his Folksong Festival radio show on WNYC radio in New York.

Brand was born in Canada but moved to New York to go to Brooklyn College. It was after graduating and serving in the military that, on December 10, 1945, he hosted his first Folksong Festival radio show which has run nearly continuously over the years, being named by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest running radio show hosted by the same person in history, with nobody even close.

Over the years, Brand has hosted some milestones of folk music including Arlo Guthrie's first public performance of Alice's Restaurant, Bob Dylan's first interview after coming to New York and a quartet of Oscar, Pete Seeger, Theo Bikel and Tom Paxton performing This Land is Your Land. In total, Oscar has interviewed or welcomed to the studio almost every name in folk music.

Beyond Folksong Festival, Brand has recorded over 100 albums, from 1948's Absolute Nonsense to 2002's The Wild Blue Over Vietnam. He has written hundred's of songs including the Canadian national song Something to Sing About and the theme for the show Let's Sing Out. He has also been involved in over 400 documentaries.

As a touring musician, he has traveled with the likes of Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly and Pete Seeger and was one of the original creators of the Songwriters Hall of Fame where he remains on the board. Add in authoring eleven books, writing for Broadway, contributing to the creation of Sesame Street and winning Peabody and Emmy Awards, and you have the definition of a Renaissance man.

Brand turns 95 on February 7 but that isn't stopping him. He's already making plans for next December's 70th anniversary broadcast.

Folksong Festival is heard every Saturday night at 10 PM on WNYC-AM 820 in New York and via WNYC.org.

No comments

Powered by Blogger.