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  • January 9th, 2018

    Joan Baez: The Musician and Muse

    Words by: Olivia Viana

    One of the most prominent figures of the 1960s folk movement, Joan Baez has led a highly influential and momentous career. Beyond performing iconic music and possessing an unmistakable voice, she has also paved her own path through her independence, activism, and a deep love for the music that she knew would inspire change. While Baez has influenced countless musicians of the folk genre and beyond, she has also been a major role model for women through the tumultuous 1960s to the modern day. Today we’re celebrating the birthday of this truly amazing individual who will always be our woman-warrior muse.

    She’s one of the most independent solo artists out there

    Starting her career at only 18 years of age, Joan Baez wasn’t standing at the sidelines for long. She started performing at the famous Newport Folk Festival in 1959, and has significantly helped to bring the emerging folk movement of the early 60s to full fruition. From performing important songs with a message to owning the stage completely on her own, she gave many individuals the inspiration to become a trailblazing solo artist. Bob Dylan is just one of the many figures she inspired, fostering his career from its bare beginnings.

    She’s been a dedicated activist all her life

    Joan Baez is one of the reasons that the folk movement of the 60s was so closely linked to activism. She’s known for performing some of the most influential protest songs out there, such as “Oh, Freedom.” While she introduced so many listeners to these important songs and the messages they professed, she also actively brought them to the scene of struggle. She accompanied the message of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have A Dream” speech with a performance of “Oh, Freedom.” In addition to using a music as vehicle for change, Baez was directly involved in the March on Washington in 1963 and the larger Civil Rights Movement, marching alongside Dr. King himself.

    She celebrates creativity by living it each day

    Joan Baez has lived a life filled with creation, largely through music. However she hasn’t restricted her expressive nature to music alone. She’s also recently proved to be an accomplished artist, painting beautiful portraits when she’s not with her guitar. Through her own art she’s been able to celebrate the creativity of others, and continues to serve as a beacon of light for so many musicians and women across the world.

    She’s made it to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for being an inspiration and a rebel

    Her music has had a profound impact on the folk genre, and also on rock ‘n’ roll. Groups like Led Zeppelin have been influenced by her, and her use of music as a means for rebellion has helped propel the rock genre on the same track. Countless musicians have celebrated her Joan Baez’s fearless legacy, and will continue to do so for years to come.

    She’s proven that music can make a difference

    There’s something about music that resonates with all of us, and Joan Baez continues to use her craft to reach our hearts and change the world. She’s proven that music unites us together, and if there’s anything that she has embodied over the years, it’s that we’re stronger together. Thank you, Ms. Baez, for living bravely through music and proving that each and every one of us can make a difference.