Peter Yarrow and Noel Paul Stookey—of the great 1960s group Peter, Paul, and Mary—have voices that made history, and you can still hear the spirit of the great age of protest resonating in their harmonies. They don’t need a lovely concert hall to get their point across, but on Friday they will get one of the world’s best venues anyway: Santa Barbara’s historic Lobero Theatre. While hearing “If I Had a Hammer” may cause people of a certain age to remember something beautiful and true from 1962, the verse of “Puff the Magic Dragon” they do in pirate voices will undoubtedly return the audience to the innocent bliss of childhood.
When Peter, Paul, and Mary collectively received the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation’s Distinguished Peace Leadership Award in September 2007, they still existed as a trio. Mary Travers was unable to make the trip to Santa Barbara to accept the award because she was recovering from back surgery and battling leukemia; Travers died on September 16, 2009. But Yarrow and Stookey did make it to S.B., accepting the award and giving a rousing performance to a packed Victoria Hall. The Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (NAPF) again sponsors this week’s concert, and the intent is to give Peter and Paul not only an opportunity to perform, but also a chance to reconnect with their friends in the peace movement and colleagues at the NAPF.
When I caught up with Yarrow, he was in transit to another gig, and he talked to me from the airport departure lounge using his standard form of address: “My brother.” It was a deliciously period detail in a conversation saturated with undiluted idealism. His message these days has evolved through the peace movement into a personal project designed to use music to promote a positive and respectful learning environment for all children through song-based curriculums. “I’m still doing the same thing,” said Yarrow, “we all are; it’s bringing the spirit of peace to people, in person, and through song.”
Peter and Paul play the Lobero (33 E. Canon Perdido St.) Friday, September 10, at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 963-0761 or visit lobero.com.