Rafe Stefanini's keen interest in the southern U.S.'s old-time music scene was the impetus for a visit to the U.S. in the early '80s, and the respected fiddler relocated from his native Italy to the U.S. not long after. In addition to his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, Stefanini also is highly skilled in violin restoration. At one time, he was also a violinmaker, having studied under Otello Bignami for four years in Italy's ECIPAR Violin Making School. He left for Philadelphia in 1984 and repaired instruments at both Frederick Oster Fine Violins and Primavera Violins. His first involvement with a band occurred in Italy, when he and siblings Gianni and Bruno formed the Moonshine Brothers. When he had settled in the U.S., Stefanini established the Wildcats with Carol Elizabeth Jones and Stefan Senders, and the band put out a pair of cassettes. The trio toured Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunei during the late '80s under the auspices of the United States Information Agency. With Dirk Powell and Bruce Molsky in 1990, he established an outfit called the L-7s, a trio of power fiddlers. When Powell dropped out three years later and guitarist Bev Smith was added to the mix, the band became Big Hoedown. Rounder Records issued an eponymous CD that showcased Stefanini's powerful fiddling and banjo playing. Stefanini and his bandmates toured as far as Finland and Germany, and in the late '90s were featured on A Prairie Home Companion. Stefanini collaborated with Meredith McIntosh, John Hermann, and Smith in the Rockinghams. In addition to his restoration work and performing and recording, Stefanini also has taught throughout Asia, Europe, and the U.S. ~ Linda Seida, Rovi