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The Stairwell Sisters
Which is exactly the kind of women that make up The Stairwell Sisters. Evie, Stephanie Prausnitz. Lisa Berman, Martha Hawthorne, and Sue Sandlin are career women, organizers, activists and mamas; making ends meet working and living in San Francisco. They also happen to crank out acoustic, old-time music with a punk-rock intensity. Somehow, between raising children, working and releasing records, they’ve taken their band to some rather well-regarded places – appearing on “A Prairie Home Companion,” festival stages from Lincoln Center (NYC) and Hardly Strictly Bluegrass (SF) to Celtic Connections (UK), and many points in between.
My Second Surprise
After recording debut album ‘Avoidance As A Way Of Life’, Ayal moved to Brighton UK and released it (2005) under his own ‘StagFrenzy Recordings’ imprint. The album was signed to EMI Music Publishing and debut music video ‘perfect cure’ won the Israeli Grammy and played on MTV Europe. It was time to move on, this time to the States, where he spent part of his childhood. After playing SXSW 2007 he settled in San Francisco and started recording his second album, on which he’s doing pretty much everything (except for strings & horns). This sophomore effort, titled ‘Time To Move On’, was mixed in Tucson AZ by Craig Schumacher (Calexico, Iron & Wine) and self-released in 2009.
The Seshen is a 7-piece Bay Area-based band whose songs mix live and electronic elements. Their music utilizes electronic textures to suggest complex emotions and vivid imagery but also to blur the distinction between the abstract and the familiar. The Seshen takes influences from electronic music, hip-hop, pop, R&B, dub, and indie rock to create beat-driven compositions with a strong emotional core. The band consists of bassist/producer Aki Ehara, drummer Chris Thalmann, keyboardist Mahesh Rao, percussionist Mirza Kopelman and synchronizer/sampler Kumar Butler, who provide the sonic backdrop for vocalists Lalin St. Juste and Akasha Orr.