Music For Change: Joan Baez

Classical Academy


There are some singers who use their songs for change - musician Joan Chandos Baez did just that. Her strong vibrato gives a distinctive vocal style that first found her fame singing in coffeehouses in and around Boston. It was the topical nature of her songs, however, and her activism for human rights, peace and environmental justice that drew people closely to her.


When she was young, a friend of Joan's father gave her a ukulele. With four chords under her belt, she learned to play rhythm and blues - they rest is history. It was when Baez first heard Martin Luther King Junior speak in 1956, however, that she took up a life of activism - his words had brought tears to her eyes. Throughout the Vietnam War, Baez was particularly vocal, publicly endorsing resisting taxes to voice her disagreement. A frequent participant in anti-war marches, she was arrested on more than one occasion. In the 70s she took a key role in founding the US branch of Amnesty International and wrote music in response to events from China's Tiananmen Massacre to Iran's regime, from environmental causes to povery and gay rights.


It's with pleasure that we share Dark Chords On A Big Guitar, a beautiful recording of Joan Baez's incredible voice including the touching song In My Time Of Need.