People got off their feet and started dancing for 2012 Brunell Visiting Scholar Samite Mulondo during his joint two-hour concert with the Cayuga Community College Jazz Ensemble, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and College Chorus on May 9 at the Irene A. Bisgrove Community Theatre on the Auburn Campus.
“We want to see you dancing and having a good time,” said Samite during the performance. His playing of the kalimba (African thumb piano) and flute, mixed with the sounds of percussion instruments by Jeff Haynes and bass and guitar by Charlie Shew, drew the crowd from their seats and up to the front of the stage dancing. Students and audience members even started a conga line during one melody.
Directed by Michael Cortese, the Cayuga CC Jazz Ensemble consisted of percussionists, a guitarist, a bassist, and several guest vocalists, including Samite during the performance of his song “Mutoto.” Other songs performed included “The Girl from Ipanema” and “Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars” by Antonio Carlos Jobim, which featured student soloist Mario Paiva.
The Cayuga CC Vocal Jazz Ensemble, directed by Amy Bellamy, consisted of two sopranos, three altos, and three baritones. Various songs included “Ain’t Misbehavin” arranged by Larry Shackley, which featured student soloist Caleb Filer, and “Beyond the Sea,” arranged by Audrey Snyder and John Higgins. The Vocal Jazz Ensemble was accompanied by pianist Will Tobin.
Also directed by Amy Bellamy and accompanied by pianist Sally Bailey, the College Chorus comprised five sopranos, four altos, and four baritones. Students performed songs like “Build Me Up Buttercup” arranged by Jeff Funk, which featured student soloists Erika Green and Michael Rickerson. Samite joined the College Chorus in last their song entitled “Webake,” for which the students learned a new language with Samite’s assistance.
The concert concluded a semester-long series of events and performances, featuring Samite. In addition to performing music, Samite presented a talk at the opening of his photography exhibition at The Library Gallery @ 197 in the College Library, spoke on African politics, provided inspirational music for an art class to paint by, and led a discussion of the Oscar-nominated documentary, War Dance.
Born and raised in Uganda, Samite is a world-renowned musician, humanitarian and photographer. He witnessed genocide and human rights violations as a former refugee under the dictatorship of Milton Obote and Idi Amin, which inspired his worldly travels to bring sentiments of peace and hope through the healing power of music.
One of Samite’s many accomplishments include the founding of Musicians for World Harmony in 2001, an organization that enables musicians across the globe to promote peace, understanding, and harmony through music. Samite has released ten CDs, including the soundtrack for the film Addiction Incorporated. He also is the subject of the documentary Song of the Refugee distributed by PBS in 1998.
Migrating to the U.S. in 1987, Samite currently lives with his wife Sandra in Ithaca, N.Y. He has spent a great amount of time at CCC this semester performing and sharing his experiences through lectures, classes and faculty enrichment programs. For more information about Samite, visit http://www.samite.com.
The Brunell Visiting Scholar program is administered by the College Foundation.