I’m Playing a Kid’s Concert!

Hi Everyone,

Thanks to my little daughter, I’m excited to be picking up my “axe” again, this time in the form of a baby Taylor and a uke, to play a kids’ concert here in Germany for Earth Day! I’m doing a mix of English and German songs. If you happen to be in the Nuremberg area, come out!

Saturday, April 22
Earth Day Show
The Lunchbox

*call to reserve tickets, it will sell out.



Song Map Launch!

Hi Friends,

I’m excited to share that I’ve launched a blog called The Song Map. It’s a music-focused site covering everything from travel, interviews, video tutorials, parenthood, music wellness and music endangerment (musics that are dying off in the world). It started with all of my travels, and making my latest album Traveler’s Songbook. I’ve had some time to write and develop this concept during my pregnancy, since it’s getting harder and harder to hold a guitar!


From my travels, I’ve become even more fascinated with ethnomusicological connections- how music is with us everywhere we go, whether it be a folk song recording history, a mother singing to calm her baby, or meandering down alleyways in far corners of the world. Music defines our experience. It’s a map to our humanity, charted through melodies and instruments instead of politics and war. And as I prepare to become a mother, I realize how intrinsic music is to our well-being and longevity.

The Song Map  is intended to celebrate the musics of the world that may be disappearing, and to bring back the essence of music into our daily lives and our families. There is something special about sharing a song with someone that is unique to anything else. Music has always been my compass- it’s has been my door opener to other worlds, new friends, clarifying history. Hopefully it can be yours, too.

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, subscribe for the monthly newsletter and you’ll get a songpack download of some of the favorite songs I’ve written over the years.

Much love and songmapping,


2015 Update!

Hi Friends,

I have been very quietly off-the-grid this past year working on a new project here in Germany. Well, a couple of projects :) One has to do with music, but not the working-in-the-studio, standing-on-the-stage kind. It seems to be the perfect bridge to my next chapter in life.

But first, news #1: I’m pregnant! Which has made me shift how I approach to performing and making music. Let’s just say trying to play guitar with this belly has been funny, but the ukulele has been a nice compromise :) It’s been a wonderful way to “tune in” to the next chapter of my life. I’m ready for it.


News #2: I’m launching a new music and travel blog. I’ve learned so much about the world over the past few years, from all the traveling and researching what I’m passionate about- sound therapy to music endangerment to interviewing world musicians. All things outside what I have learned from being a recording artist. It’s really exciting. I am creating a platform that gives a different perspective on travel, as well as encourage non-musicians and families to bring music into their daily life through tutorials and easy info.

News #3: We are planning on coming back to the States for a good 6 months int the Fall and then doing a Round-the-World trip through next year, with the babe! Expect bilingual lullabies and plenty of travel inspiration.

I will fill you in when the new site is fully launched! Till then, Tschüss, Auf Wiedersehen, und viele Grüsse,



Musicians without Borders

I’m very excited to give an endorsement to a wonderful program that is doing great work around the world. Musicians Without Borders goes into conflict areas and uses the power of music to bridge divides, connect communities, and heal the wounds of war. They have set up music programs in Post War Kosovo, the West Bank, Bosnia, Rwanda and other countries that have been damaged by conflict and bring music, creativity and hope back into people’s lives.

Check out the website for further info and how you can participate.




Hi Traveler friends,

I have chosen to give a small part of the album proceeds so far for Traveler’s Songbook to a program from Uganda that I love. Days for Girls makes sustainable hygiene kits and menstruation pads that girls can use for 2-3 years. With this donation (from the albums you bought:) we are sponsoring hygiene kits and training for a classroom of 30 girls. Alright!

Girls are not encouraged when they first get their period. Many girls don’t make it to school at all, are left at home or worse locked in a room to “sit on cardboard.” Some use sticks, leaves and stones so they can attend school.

We know that:

-Most girls who drop out of school drop out in the first year of menstruation.
-The poverty cycle can be broken when girls stay in school.
-The provision of safe feminine hygiene solutions directly decreases dropout rates for girls that have reached menstruation.

So why would I choose to give a donation to Days for Girls?

-the program is based in Uganda where I was fortunate enough to traveled through last year and see a bit how the country ticks. I wanted to give to a program that would have direct impact on a girl’s ability to go to school. Having her own pad (with super cute colorful designs!) will give a girl self-confidence and feeling safe in her skin. Safe enough to go to school and yes, change her destiny.

-the idea is sustainable and carries forward. Girls are not only empowered to go to school and get an education, but are teaching sewing and pad-making to other girls in the community.

-the founder of Days for Girls is so dang PASSIONATE about the program (check out her TED X Talk here, I wept!) I know my donation is going to someone who’s going to put her heart and soul into making it amazing. They’ve impacted 100,000 girls so far.

Days for Girls is solving a simple, yet HUGE problem that nobody ever asks! What are these girls doing for pads?

Well, I feel good. Do you feel good? I feel good.

Go Girls!



Photo Credit: Seattle Post

Onnalee- Filmed in Eritrea

This is just the original demo of the song, but I thought it fit better to the video. Filmed at a special Eritrean baptism on Palm Sunday, we were able to join, shoes off, women dressed in their beautiful white cloth… it was an extraordinary experience (and also the album cover photo). In Eritrea half of the people practice Christianity, the other half are Muslim. It’s a beautiful dichotomy.

Onnalee is my grandmother who passed away a few months before. The concept of travel here is not geographical, but more a spiritual departure from this life to the next “destination.” I love her so much!

More posts about Eritrea on my travel blog.

A Letter to my Friends (Traveler’s Songbook out today!)


Hi Friends,

Many of you signed up on this list over a decade ago, when I was a wide-eyed little sprite playing my baby blue Stratocaster in the clubs of San Francisco. You came along with me for my albums, my tours, and down to Los Angeles. You bought my CDs and tee-shirts and wrote on my forums (where there were forums!) Most of all, you became my friends.

A few years ago I took a break from the LA melee to travel and a see a bit of the world. I had always wanted to backpack (well, more likely fanny pack:) and a few Thanksgivings ago was invited on a trip to Antarctica (yes, Antarctica!). This was my chance.

It was there on a boat south of Tierra Del Fuego, amidst the polar ice shelves and leopard seals that I met my future husband, Michael, a German travel photographer and teacher. He had me at “Guten Tag”:) We decided to continue the journey around the world.


We backpacked through 30 countries together, from the Philippines to Indonesia to South Korea. I moved to Germany that year and we continued to travel- through more remote countries, Kurdistan, eastern Siberia’s Kamchatka Peninsula, even Yemen, and my perspective of the world broadened considerably, seeing firsthand the role of women in the world, the scale of poverty and global health.

Along the way I experienced music, people, history and stories that I wanted to bring into my music. That is when the idea for the Song Map came to be, I was writing songs and lyrics in all of these unique locations, why not incorporate indigenous instruments, histories and cultural influences in the songs themselves? I know I made pop music, but couldn’t there be a merge somewhere?

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Once back in Germany I set out to recreate this in the studio. I found a producer here and we went to work (yes, speaking only German!). We put balalaika, djembe, brazilian samba drum patterns, Portuguese guitar, violin, soprano saxophone, accordion, melodicas, lutes and a range of other instruments to make this travel-themed concept come to fruition.


From Brazil to Eritrea to Russia to California, each song relates lyrically or musically to a story or a place. And though I could never attempt to recreate a Yemeni homayni, I tried in my own way to celebrate this amazing world we live in.

The end product is Traveler’s Songbook, released today!

I just wanted to say thank you. For all of your support of my music back in the days, for coming to the shows, listening to the music and being a part of my life. If this email gets to you, I hope this new album takes you on an enjoyable little trip around the world.


Have a great Thanksgiving, stay warm, and as they say over here in Germany, “Alles Gute!”


Love& fanny packs,



Download on Itunes


Vimeo Channel- music videos from Russia, Eritrea, Yemen

Cherry Blossom Music Video- filmed in Yemen

Here is the 3rd video release… this one was filmed in filmed in Yemen (both on Socotra “the other Galapagos” and it’s capital, Sana’a with mud architecture dating back to the 11th century). Yemen is not considered “safe to travel in” & were even Al Quada air strikes in the countryside so I was initially freaked out to go, but once we got there I was (like always) met with lovely smiles and lots of “Welcome”s and realized that the world is like this wherever we go- safe and dangerous, simultaneously.

In the video there’s a political rally, endemic Dragon’s Blood trees, men eating Qat and a camel churning olive oil…

The song lyrically is about letting go to make change, which I wrote in response to the cultural differences, mostly the role of women there. It was my first time experiencing only fully-covered women, which inspired a whole range of emotions & observations!

Enjoy it!

“Catherine the Great” Music Video- Filmed in Russia

Last summer we traveled through Russia- Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Golden Ring in the west to the uncharted territory of Siberia’s Kamchatka in the far east. Also, Vladywostock where the Transsiberian Railroad begins. It was pretty frickin badass. We drove an old military Kamaz military vehicle through the badlands of Kamchatka, up black volcano rock camped amidst molten lava fields. There were bears. It was insane.

My female traveling compadre was aptly named “Katharina”, so being the daydreamer of the group I combined the experience with Russia’s famous tsarina, Catherine the Great, into lyrics, which was turned into the song you are listening to. We added balalaika back in Germany- there is a solid Russian culture given the geographical closeness, so it was no problem finding a balalaika player for the job.

More stories and near death experiences can be found here!

Traveler’s Songbook release November 25th

Hey Everybody,
Just a heads up that Traveler’s Songbook will be up in iTunes next Tuesday the 25th.
XO Samantha


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© 2014 Samantha Stollenwerck