Stephan Smith Reclaims Stephen Said As Real Name For New Album

Stephan Said, formerly Smith, the Iraqi-American artist increasingly hailed as
“this generation’s Woody Guthrie” and compared to protest legends Bob Marley,
Dylan, and John Lennon, debuts songs from his up-coming vanguard album with
Grammy winning producer Hal Willner and an all-star orchestra with Cindy
Blackman, Kevin Hunter, Lenny Pickett, Art Baron, Earl Gardner, Jane Scaprantoni,
and internationally renowned guests including Salman Ahmed of the Pakistani rock
group Junoon. This unforgettable show marks a celebration of Stephan’s
announcement reclaiming his Arabic name, despite American music industry
blacklisting, in a cross-cultural shout out for global tolerance benefiting refugee

Perhaps the most reputed Iraqi or Arab American recording artist, the thenemerging
prodigy of both folk legend Pete Seeger and the late poet Allen Ginsberg,
Stephan had been forced to use his mother’s maiden name, Smith, when major
record label executives told him he “would never have a career in the United States
with an Arabic name.”

Stephan states, “If we want to give our children a world in which people live
together in peace, every individual, every child, must be permitted to live equally,
free of suppression simply because of his or her name, and ethnic, class, or religious
identity. I am now a member of a global community that transcends borders, and
brings together Christians, Muslims, Jews, East and West, Conservatives and
Liberals, who understand our mutual security necessitates a more equal and
tolerant world. I make pop music to celebrate this growing clan.”
Stephan will perform songs from his just-completed upcoming album, “Songs
From Below,” (due Feb. 2009), with Grammy Award winning Producer Hal Willner
(Tom Waits, Bono, Lucinda Williams, Saturday Nite Live). The much-anticipated
album features his most universal songwriting to date, with cinematic love songs
and pop anthems to global tolerance and peace in English, Arabic, French and
Spanish blending pop with rock, folk, and world music.

Stephan burst into mainstream consciousness with his cult pop-litical hits
such as “The Ballad of Abner Louima,” with rock icon Patti Smith, and 22/41, about
Ghanaian Amadou Diallo. His song “The Bell” was “the first major song against the
war in Iraq”(Neil Strauss, NY Times) and hailed as “the antiwar anthem of this
generation.”(GNN) Following the release of “The Bell,” Stephan was completely
excluded from the U.S. touring industry. A multi-ethnic spokesperson for the global
justice movement, his essays on music and global affairs have appeared in The San
Francisco Chronicle, The Progressive Magazine, CounterPunch, Sing Out! Magazine,
Folker Magazine (Germany), The Huffington Post, AlterNet, Counterpunch, and

Born to an Iraqi father and Austrian mother, he sings in English, Arabic,
French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian and Spanish. He holds a Masters in
International Affairs from The New School, and has written extensively on global
development finance, poverty reduction, weapons law and human rights

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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