Artist profiles: Samite

Samite

Samite Mulondo was born and raised in Uganda but left as a political refugee in 1982 following his brother’s death. He spent some time playing with the popular African Heritage Band and the Bacchus Club Jazz Band. During this period Samite studied Ugandan traditional musical instruments and rhythms with passion.

After only a few years, he mastered the kalimba (thumb-piano), marimba (wooden xylophone), litungu (seven-stringed Kenyan instrument) and various flutes, both traditional and western. Combining these melodious instruments he mesmerized audiences with his original compositions and eventually played solo at the Mount Kenya Safari Club.

Samite emigrated to the United States in 1987 and now resides in Ithaca, New York. Since his arrival, he has produced several albums. These recordings conjure dream-like images and folk tales and images from his native land. They contain a collection of joyful melodic multicultural songs featuring kalimba melodies which are the foundation of Samite’s music.

In 1998 Samite signed with Windham Hill Records and worked on compilations with Will Ackerman and one of his favorite Windham Hill artists, George Winston. Samite was featured on two of Windham Hill’s popular releases “Sound of Wind Driven Rain” and “Summer Solstice II.”

Samite spent the summer of 1999 traveling through parts of Africa, filming a PBS documentary titled “Song of the Refugee.” This documentary captured his first visit to Uganda since he left in 1982 and was inspired by his desire to present African refugees’ hopes for the future in spite of the loss and suffering they have endured. The coverage focused on the violence and destruction taking place in Samite’s native land as well as a cry for reconciliation and a healing process.

Samite’s 2003 CD, Tunula, written and recorded during the last year of his beloved wife Joan’s life, is an album of celebration of all that makes us human: love, loss, endurance hope. It is a joyous album conveying optimism through stories and songs. Indeed, these songs are a reflection of life itself: the innocent wonder of childhood (Kite Kitere), motherhood (Yangu Ni Yako), marriage (Mwatu), village life (Maama Yi Baaba), politics (Obubaka), peace (Agalilala) and everlasting love (Tunula Eno)

Samite reflects on these experiences as well as many other elements of his homeland while captivating audiences by performing soothing songs and dance from his and other African cultures.

Discography:

Dance My Children Dance (Shanachie Records, 1990)
Pearl of Africa Reborn (Shanachie Records, 1992)
Silina Musango (Xenophile Records, 1996)
Stars to Share (Windham Hill Records, 1999)
Kambu Angels (Wind Over Earth, 2001)
Tunula Eno (Triloka Records, 2003)
Embalasasa (Triloka Records, 2005)
My Music World (2012)
Trust, soundtrack (2012)
Samite Live (2012)
Another Side of Me (2016)
Resilience (Samite Music, 2018)

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music music for many years. He founded the websites worldmusiccentral.org and musicasdelmundo.com. Angel produced several TV specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World.

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