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Hazel Dickens Biography:
Together with her siblings, Dickens began attending music festivals, where she met and formed a group with Mike Seeger. She became an instrumental presence in the local folk and bluegrass scene, playing with several bands in the areas around Washington, D.C.
She also began working with Mike Seeger's wife Alice Gerrard, with whom she recorded several early feminist folk songs and old time tunes. Hazel & Alice toured extensively together and became an influential force in the budding singer-songwriter and traditional folk scenes of the mid-20th century folk music revival. They went their separate ways in 1973.
Following the split, Dickens recorded a number of albums and contributed her work to several films, including Harlan County USA and With Babies and Banners. She contributed her music and ideas to the plight of the Highlander School in Tennessee, where there had been a long history of using arts and culture as tools for social change. Her affiliation with Highlander lasted for the rest of her life.
Counting the six albums Dickens made as one half of Hazel & Alice, she recorded eleven albums in all throughout her career, and was included on nearly two dozen compilations focused on old time, bluegrass, mountain music, and labor songs. She contributed music to five movies in her life, including Black Lung - a film which captured the topic closest to Dickens' heart - the plight of coal mining people and the troubles they've seen.
On April 22, 2011, Hazel Dickens died at the age of 75.