Joan Baez is an American folk singer, songwriter and activist. Baez has a distinctive vocal style, with a strong vibrato,and her recordings have included topical songs and material dealing with social issues. After 50 plus years in the business she remains a musical force of nature whose influence is incalculable - marching on the front line of the civil rights movement with Martin Luther King Jr., inspiring Vaclav Havel in his fight for a Czech Republic, singing on the first Amnesty International tour and just this year, standing alongside Nelson Mandela when the world celebrated his 90th birthday in London's Hyde Park. She brought the Free Speech Movement into the spotlight, took to the fields with Cesar Chavez, organized resistance to the war in Southeast Asia, then forty years later saluted the Dixie Chicks for their courage to protest war. Her earliest recordings fed a host of traditional ballads into the rock vernacular, before she unselfconsciously introduced Bob Dylan to the world in 1963 and focused awareness on songwriters ranging from Woody Guthrie, Dylan, Phil Ochs, Richard Farina, and Tim Hardin, to Kris Kristofferson and Mickey Newbury, to Dar Williams, Richard Shindell, Steve Earle and many more.