“Deportees” Seán Cannon

I’m still rather taken by how my good friend, Seán Cannon, interprets Woody Guthrie’s Deportees.


Woody Guthrie composed “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos (Deportees),” after reading, early in 1948, that a plane deporting migrant farm workers back to Mexico had crashed in January of that year. The crash resulted in the deaths of four Americans and 28 migrant farm workers who were being from California back to Mexico

Guthrie was reportedly horrified by the fact that all the radio and newspaper accounts failed to give the Mexican farm workers’ names, but referred to them merely as “deportees.” Only the flight crew and the security guard were named in any report.   

The song Guthrie wrote was without music – Woody himself chanted the words. It did not get a public performance until a decade later when a schoolteacher Martin Hoffman added a melody and Pete Seeger began singing it in concerts.

Deportees Sean Cannon


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