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Internationally acclaimed performer Stephan Said to give free concert at Muhlenberg


Pioneer of "global pop" appears courtesy of Center for Ethics

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 01:17 PM

Internationally acclaimed musician and activist Stephan Said will give a free concert in Muhlenberg College's Empie Theatre, Center for the Arts,  on Wednesday, April 8, 2015 at 8:00 p.m. The performance, co-sponsored by the College's Center for Ethics, the office of student activities, Muhlenberg Activities Council and WMUH, is free and open to the public.

Said (who has also recorded under the name Stephan Smith) is an internationally acclaimed musician and activist whose songs and writings have helped ignite the Seattle demonstrations, the global anti-war movement, Arab Spring and Occupy, and propel the International Day of Peace.  His unique multi-ethnic, multi-religious heritage makes him a voice that bridges cultures across the world. His music fuses pop, hip-hop, rock and world folk music in an infectious sound charged with ecstatic lyrics for change. Called “this generation’s Woody Guthrie” by Billboard Magazine, his songs have been sung by artists from Pete Seeger to Patti Smith, Dave Matthews and DJ Spooky. The New York Times hailed his song "The Bell," as the "first major song against the war in Iraq," and his song "Aheb Aisht Al Huriyah" (I love the life of freedom), amplified the nascent Egyptian revolution. His single "Take A Stand,” was released in September 2011, with an op-ed in The Progressive Magazine titled "A Song United for A Global Spring" calling for an international movement for social and economic equality.

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 2012, Said’s vision for the #J15 Worldwide Candlelight Vigil spread to 80 cities across the world uniting people from Tahrir Square to New York City’s Riverside Church, gaining participants including K’naan, Russell Simmons, Joan Baez, Reza Aslan Deepak Chopra and countless others. In 2013, he traveled to Iraq to shoot the music video for his anthem to global unity, “Love, Make The World Go Round,” filmed in the streets of Baghdad as bombs went off across the city.

Said is the co-founder of difrent:, a production company creating a television series and associated events featuring youth at the frontlines of social change. The difrent: website has featured interviews and downloads with a wide range of artists including Amadou and Mariam, Warren Haynes, Vieux Farka Toure and more.

Said was born in Cleveland, Ohio. His father is Iraqi and Muslim, and his mother is Austrian, of both Christian and Jewish heritage. He has been featured in the New York Times, Time, The New Yorker, NPR, PRI, BBC, Democracy Now!, GritTV,The Village Voice and more. He holds a masters in international affairs from The New School in New York City. 

Said's performance is part of the year-long series of  programs Civility and Disobedience, under the direction of Brian Mello, associate professor of political science, and Christine Sistare, professor of philosophy.

Each year, the Center for Ethics sponsors an intensive series designed to encourage discussion and reflection on a timely, pertinent topic.  Center for Ethics programs are free and open to all members of the Muhlenberg campus and the local community.

Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year college located in the Lehigh Valley of eastern Pennsylvania, affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.  Muhlenberg offers programs in the liberal arts and sciences, along with selected pre-professional studies and a number of interdisciplinary majors.