Sunday, March 2, 2008

Samite Was Great

As I mentioned earlier, we saw Samite of Uganda at the Kirkland Performance Center tonight. We were not disappointed.

He started off the concert holding a tiny kalimba, a thumb piano, that was about the size and shape of a small teapot. The music that came out of it was amazing and all he was doing was moving his thumbs. He must be really good at texting!

He was joined in concert by a drummer, who played three or four different types of drums and some other percussion instruments, plus a guitarist who played both guitar and bass and some more percussion instruments. In the second number, he showed pictures of a trip back to Uganda a year ago. They started out making sounds that sounded like birds, monkeys, and other animals in the jungle, with whistles, flute, percussion, and voice. Amazingly realistic and it slowly morphed into a song, interspersed with jungle sounds at times.

He played two different 100-year-old kalimbas with keys that he said were made out of bicycle spokes pounded flat with a hammer, as well as a kalimba made out of a sardine can. But he also used modern technology, with a solo a capella love song in which he used live looping to harmonize with himself. It was nice (and surprising) to hear a couple of numbers that I knew, including "Nakku" from Pearl of Africa Reborn. But all of the music sounded instantly familiar.

He gave a pitch for a group called Musicians for World Harmony that takes "the healing power of music" to refugee camps, orphanages, and other places like that around the world. He said they entertain and they replace guns with musical instruments.

All in all, a great show. I would happily see him again anytime. We bought two CDs that he signed afterwards. I'm looking forward to them.

Samite: Tunula Eno
Samite: Embalasasa
Tunula Eno