News from the Stairwell

The weblog of The Stairwell Sisters – All-Gal Old-Time String Band

Archive for November, 2005

Stephanie goes to Tanzania!

Besides playing fiddle and singing with my Sisters, I am committed to protecting and preserving health and environment. After two and a half years of unemployment/underemployment and some soul-searching, I decided to look forward to traveling to a foreign (poor) country and contributing what I can towards health and environment, rather than to dread another bout of job-hunting after my bio-tech position ends in November, 2005.

I found an opportunity to go to a small village near Arusha, Tanzania for three months with the non-profit volunteer organization Cross Cultural Solutions. I’ll go in January, and return (via Zanzibar) in April. Arusha is home of the Rwanada Genocide Tribunal and the base of many safari companies, so there should be some quite interesting foreigners around. Still, it’s appreciating the local people and the native culture that really excites me. I’m studying Swahili. And, I’ll bring my fiddle, so I can communicate with people independent of spoken language. I bet I will get into some pretty amazing music sessions. Maybe I will find my Tanzanian Sisters and Misters!

I’m reading about all the public health, environmental protection, and community empowerment projects in Tanzania I can find. I don’t know exactly what I will be doing once I’m there, and even if I thought I did, I know it will be something quite different once I get there anyway. I’m going with a flexible attitude and a commitment to contribution. I’ll miss you all and look forward to sharing my adventures with you once I’m back. Meanwhile, big thanks to my Sisters, friends, fans, and especially fiddle angel Elise Engelberg for carrying on while I’m gone.

Love, Stephanie

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New Compilation CD Dedicated To Assisting Hurricane Disaster Efforts

Made Ad 2005-2
We’re proud to be part of a new compilation CD dedicated to assisting hurricane disaster efforts – Musicians Assisting Disaster Efforts, A Conscious Alliance of Voices, Vol. 1.

In addition to the Sisters, the CD’s roster includes The Gourds (who wrote a special song about hurricane Katrina just for this CD), Split Lip Rayfield, Umphrey’s McGee, Hit and Run Bluegrass, Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band, Jefferson Hamer w/Ben Kauffman from Yonder Mountain String Band, Zen, Kathryn Keats w/Darol Anger, Cornmeal, Steppin’ In It, Toni Brown Band, the Tallboys, plus a few “surprise bands” and the Deep Fried Pickle Project. Limited Edition CD of “the finest Americana Musicians” with a $20 donation. Check out the details here!
For more information on how you can help, go to or
MADE Ad 2005

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Keith Terry Beat Our Socks Off!

We enjoyed our Noe Valley Ministry set with Keith Terry so much! Had a rocking full, polyrhythmic, percussive sound with Keith’s African bells, cajons and vintage clanggy toys on a bunch of new material. Can’t wait to do it again. In the meantime, catch Keith in one of his many amazing projects and/or classes in body music.

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