Leah Stauber moved to Tucson in 1999 to study anthropology. While finishing her dissertation on Chicano-youth activism, Leah teaches at Tucson Yoga by night and helps keep local coffee shops running via her patronage by day. Mother to a 2-year-old, Leah has recently enjoyed the renewed concept of "a social life," becoming a groupie to her friend Gabrielle Pietrangelo's Silver Thread Trio.
What was the first concert you ever saw?
The B-52s with the Violent Femmes, 1992. This was also my first contact high.
What are you listening to these days?
Grupo Fantasma, El Existential; DePedro, DePedro; Calle 13, Los de Atrás Vienen Conmigo; Yerba Buena, Island Life; the Across the Universe soundtrack; and a compilation of African lullabies (the only way I can lull my son to sleep!).
What was the first album you owned?
I was an 8-year-old living on a tiny island off of Japan, and someone gave me a dubbed cassette tape with ZZ Top on one side, and Olivia Newton-John on the other.
What artist, genre or musical trend does everyone seem to love, but you just don't get?
Rihanna. ... Seriously—even I could rhyme, "umbrella - eh - eh - eh - eh - eh!"
What musical act, current or defunct, would you most like to see perform live?
Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock. Close second: any of the Fania Records artists in 1960s/'70s New York.
Musically speaking, what is your favorite guilty pleasure?
T. Rex and '70s glam rock. Plus reggaeton—but I'm only guilty about the really grimy stuff.
What song would you like to have played at your funeral?
The Gayatri Mantra.
What band or artist changed your life, and how?
Brit punk and new wave blew me apart as a kid living in Europe; in high school, bluegrass confronted my stereotypes about "Southern" and Appalachian people; Robert Johnson and Howlin' Wolf took me to a deep, raw place in college; and more recently, I've been deeply moved by the sacred sweetness of kirtan and Sufi music—especially Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan.
Figurative gun to your head, what is your favorite album of all time?
Peter Gabriel, So. That guy is a Buddha and doesn't know it.