by John Nevison
One of my favorite African musicians and song writers is Samite Mulond. Samite was born and raised in Uganda, where his grandfather taught him to play the traditional African flute. In 1982 he fled Uganda as a political refugee after his brother was brutally killed and his own life was threatened. He spent five years in Kenya, including six months in a refugee camp, before coming to the US. Since 1987 he has lived in Ithaca, New York.
Samite writes and performs original and traditional songs in his mother tongue of Luganda. He plays the kalimba (finger-piano), marimba (wooden xylophone), litungu (seven-stringed Kenyan instrument), and various flutes.
In 2002, Samite founded "Musicians for World Harmony" (www.musiciansforworldharmony.org), a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling musicians throughout the world to share their music in order to promote peace, understanding, and harmony among peoples, with a special emphasis on the displaced or distressed who can benefit most from the healing power of music.
Samite writes, “I am convinced that we are all moved by the same desires, needs and emotions, regardless of the language in which those feelings are expressed. Songs are delivered to me by forest birds, or as I photograph mountain gorillas in Bwindi impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Still other songs come to me through stories I hear when I visit orphanages and refugee camps”.
A popular Samite CD is "Kambu Angels". In the album's liner notes, Samite states that he was inspired by an Africa that is renewing itself. In songs such as Buli Muntu, Zenina, Sunrise, Kambu Angels, and Tokido, it is possible to hear this renewal - the laughter of village children; the insect buzz in the forest; the tinny sounds of rumba music on transistor radios; windswept plains and huge, endless skies; flocks of migratory birds in flight; and an elephant family crossing a river.