Archive for "News"

Flashbacks on the Digital Release of Allen Ginsberg’s Holy Soul Jelly Roll

News Sep 21, 2012 No Comments

Friday, Sept. 21, at the Rubin Museum of Art in NYC, is a party for the digital release of the amazing compilation of Allen’s life recordings, Holy Soul Jelly Roll. I was lucky to join Allen for the release tour, just the two of us, him singing, reading, harmonium and me singing, fiddle, guitar, banjo and dobro when angel-voiced friend Steven Taylor ended up on tour in Italy with The Fugs. The tour was heavily publicized, several Days at McCabes (shout out to John Chelew), Viper Room (Johnny Depp), City Lights (Lawrence Ferlinghetti , and the incomparable Shig Murao), The Presidio, I still have set lists and notes from shows.

First night at McCabes Joni Mitchell was there, Rick Rubin and Donovan hung backstage before the show while we tuned up and made our set, the room was vibrating. Corso joined us one show, busting an amazing “Wild Nights” that brought Emily Dickinson into the room wrapping around the strings of lutes, 12 strings, banjos, ouds. I was pretty much a kid.

At The Viper Room, because the show would be taped and broadcast by major networks, production crew spent tons on a stage set to look like a stuffy Harvard Library… complete with a cumbersomely dark throne for Allen, which they proudly invited him to sit in. In the most unassuming language, Allen quickly informed them he had to have a standard metal folding chair, nothing else, upsetting the whole design, quite perfectly in one fell swoop, old pond frog jumps in kerplunk.

A true to form Tim Leary schmoozed Allen and whoever else, while a knowing Exene Cervenka, oh so brightlove Exene, gave me a half hour download on hype and scenester transcendence. Some young blonde with Tim lost her breakfast before the show started almost on Allen.

We flew into SF, my first time there ever with Ginsberg as my tourguide, Allen took photographs of my hands with his old Leica. We talked movement building and Buddhism, nonviolence, the bankruptcy of commercial media and art as agents of social change, the next, the future, the global human rights movement that needed to be cultivated and grown.

On the ground, Allen told stories, this happened here, here’s where this, this this and beautiful Shig Murao, who without saying a word tells you the most sublime poem. Danielle from Gwar with me there, at Shigs house. We came in too late and made too much noise, and decided to move to a hotel. Before the show at the Presido, Jello Biafra joined me and Allen for dinner – fresh off his MRR leg breaking and not totally solid healed, he chewed a cold rare steak with an open mouth while talking politics. Allen and I sipped miso’s. Jello knocked a home run with that steak for a bat when he joined us on stage that night.

I would never be the same again, I’d seen too much cool humbled by Allen’s presence – I’d never be phased by false Hollywood pretenses poser rokstars media, yet, only to be always in service to the moment, open to everyone and thing around us, putting one’s shoulder to the wheel.

ORF: Stephan Said, das musikalische Sprachrohr von “Occupy Wallstreet”

News May 07, 2012 No Comments

Austrian National Radio‘s feature on Stephan and his music’s role in movements across the globe.

Oakland, Non-Violence, and the Future of Occupy

News Feb 03, 2012 No Comments

Here’s the text of my latest piece published in The Progressive . The folks at The Coffee Party also put it up on their site and FB page.

Oakland, Non-Violence and The Future of Occupy

A Global Movement for Economic and Social Equality


In the wake of Occupy Oakland’s violent confrontation with police, many people are writing about non-violence and Occupy but missing the point. Occupy has been very successful in awakening an invigorated debate across the country while remaining largely non-violent.

But, to this point, Occupy has primarily defined itself through the politics of opposition, as its name even implies. Against Wall St., against Citizens United, against money in politics, against income inequality, against the G8.

To be both effective and sustainable, great movements, like those for Women’s Suffrage and Indian Independence, have to transform themselves beyond a start-up oppositional phase, into one in which they are defined not by what they are against, but by what they are FOR.

Great movements lift a moral vision high above the political dialogue that reaches into peoples’ hearts. When a moral vision precedes a movement, the necessary actions against oppressive policies and the diversity of tactics protestors autonomously undertake are fortified and the PR battle is more easily won.

The Civil Rights Movement may have been catalyzed by the bus boycott, but it had to move beyond that and claim itself as a movement for equality to capture the imagination of the world. The boycotts didn’t stop. But the movement could more effectively take on everything from segregation to voting rights in the context of the claim to equality.

We are living in the first era in which a global movement for economic and social equality, the great dream humankind has hoped for thousands of years, has become imperative for international security and the survival of our planet. That dream is alive in the hearts of people from Cairo to LA, Athens to Santiago, and with the tools at our disposal, it is achievable.

It’s time for Occupy to define that universal vision and unite with people worldwide to create that movement. True non-violence derives its power from a universal vision. When civil disobedience is tied to the inalienable claim to equality, it becomes impervious to smears and able to incorporate a diversity of tactics.

This was the key to the Salt March and to the Selma-Montgomery Marches. In an effective non-violent strategy, protestors don’t ask for dignity, they claim it as a birthright, victorious before they walk.

This was the spirit of the #J15 Worldwide Candlelight Vigil, Occupy’s biggest action so far this year. #J15 was a test-run for a global “Salt March,” with people of all ages and ethnicities engaging in a single non-violent act, lighting candles to demand a more equitable global economic system.

#J15 went viral because people all over the world wanted a positive message that gave them hope, empowering and dignifying them, and because they know that our message must be global to succeed.

In less than 3 weeks, the vision of a global movement for economic and social equality spread from Brisbane to Cairo, Manchester to New Orleans gaining the support of religious and civil rights leaders, the African American community and Arab Spring activists.

Likewise, Occupy Foreclosed Homes and Occupy The Board of Education are examples in which an inarguable claim to equal rights and benevolence preceded the confrontational nature of the direct actions, resulting in powerful statements.

There will always be a diversity of tactics. The autonomous nature of today’s movements is one of their most powerful characteristics. But if we want to rise above public perception as a din of disconnected actions, we have to elevate our message. We can do this by uniting Occupy, the Arab Spring and their sister movements in a global movement for equality.

While we prepare for May Day, Chicago and the G8, the claim to a positive dream will dignify people, connect our myriad struggles from unfair trade to income inequality and campaign finance, and move us beyond a leaderless movement into one in which everyone is the leader.

We need that great movement today. The dream of a more equal world is now being advocated by the world’s top economists and intellectuals, development institutions, as well as our interfaith and social change organizations.

The stage is set for a vision far greater and more powerful than a movement against Wall Street or the G8, one that lifts our spirits high above politics and into the global imagination, dignifying us on the road to victory. A non-violent global movement for a more equal world is the way forward.

Stephan Said Releases NextWorld Player and difrent: Videos To Build Global Movement

News Dec 14, 2011 No Comments

Stephan Said launches a NextWorld Player of songs to build the global movement, as well as interviews with South African Anti-Apartheid hero Vusi Mahlasela, Warren Haynes, Amadou and Mariam, Pete Seeger and more calling on musicians to sing freedom songs with via, the one-stop for music and culture for social change. See the page Musicians Unite To Build difrent: Music and Culture for the Global Movement.

Go to the page at difrent:’s website or difrent:’s YouTube channel for videos of South African Anti-Apartheid hero Vusi Mahlasela (pictured here), Warren Haynes, Amadou and Mariam and others calling on artists worldwide to unite in singing for social change.

Time Magazine on Stephan his Music and the Occupy Movement

News Nov 17, 2011 No Comments

Time Magazine’s article on Stephan chronicling his role in helping ignite both the Arab Spring and th Occupy Movements and his vision for a global movement!

Aslan Media: Stephan Said: Changing the World Through Music

News Nov 17, 2011 No Comments

Here are Part 1 and Part 2 of Aslan Media’s article and interview with Stephan this month from their new music Monday’s series.

NPR Talk of the Nation on difrent, Occupy Wall Street & building a global movement

News Oct 10, 2011 No Comments

NPR’s Neal Conan speaks with Stephan on Talk of The Nation about his new album, rising from blacklisting to foreshadowing the Arab Spring and Occupy Wall Street with the new album.

PRI’s The World interviews Stephan about difrent:

News Sep 21, 2011 No Comments

On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, PRI’s The World talked to Stephan about his upcoming album and difrent, his biggest global initiative for peace, and how his experience of having been blacklisted as a prominent Arab American voice for peace inspired his dream to unite people worldwide.

The Progressive – A Song United for A Global Spring

News Sep 21, 2011 No Comments

The liner notes to Stephan’s new album difrent: issued the call to uniting the global movement for social change across the world through music 1 week before Occupy Wall Street started. Read them here and spread them around. If not us who, if not now, when!

The Huffington Post features “Take A Stand”

News Sep 21, 2011 No Comments

1 week before the release of difrent: The Huffington Post featured “Take A Stand” as a free download to their readership. Check it out here!