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difrent: is Stephan’s first album reclaiming his born name, Said, having put out several critically acclaimed albums under his mother’s maiden name “Stephan Smith,” after executives at major labels in the U. insisted he “could never have a career in the America with an Arabic name.” The album debuts an all-star band featuring Cindy Blackman on drums, Kevin Hunter on mandolin and guitar, Yousif Sheronick on percussion, and George Mitchell on upright and electric bass.

Strings and horns include recording legends Lenny Pickett, Howard Johnson, Earl Gardner, Art Baron, and Jane Scarpantoni.

The grateful audience cheered for an encore and Rachael came back and played “Elephants” solo.

People in the crowd shouted out requests and Rachael seemed happy to hear them and tried to oblige.

Stephan is known for consistently using his art at the frontlines of social change.

He has produced several albums for his own independent label Universal Hobo Records as well as for Artemis Records, Rounder Records, and Caroline Records, and his songs have been sung by artists including Dave Matthews, Patti Smith, DJ Spooky, Pete Seeger, and others.

For a group that proudly wears its influences on its sleeve, though, the Walcotts aren't some revivalist band, stuck mimicking the retro sounds of an era that's long since past.

Instead, they make roots music for a modern age, with songs that spin stories and melodies that take aim at the heart as well as the head.

Stephan Said, aka Stephan Smith, is an internationally acclaimed musician, writer and activist who has been called “this generation’s Woody Guthrie” (Billboard Magazine) and favorably compared to Bob Dylan, John Lennon and Bob Marley in publications such as the New York Times, Billboard Magazine, BBC, NPR and RFI.

An Iraqi-American with immediate family in Baghdad and Mosul and a diverse heritage that combines Christianity and Islam, he is a prominent voice for interfaith dialogue, peace, and global justice.

Stephan has also performed, toured, or recorded with a wide range of artists including Allen Ginsberg, Bob Dylan, Ween, Paul Simon, Ani Di Franco, Phillip Glass, Butch Morris, and others, and.

Stephan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of 4 siblings.

Since his last album on Artemis Records, Stephan completed his graduate studies in International Affairs from the New School University.