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Ugandan musician to perform at Yavapai College on Sept. 27

Samite, a Ugandan musician, composer and recording artist, will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 27, at the Yavapai College Performance Hall.

Samite's music celebrates his unique culture and its distinctive rhythms.

He sings vocals in Luganda, and his instruments include traditional African instruments such as the kalimba (finger piano), marimba (wooden xylophone), litungu (seven-stringed Kenyan instrument) and flutes. These unusual-sounding instruments, when combined with modern technology, fuse traditional and contemporary sound into an enjoyable one-of-a-kind listening experience.

Taught to play the flute at an early age by his grandfather, Samite's talents were recognized while in high school in Kampala, Uganda.

A teacher put a western flute in his hands and Samite became one of the most successful and respected flutists in East Africa.

In 1982, he fled to Kenya as a political refugee where he played with the Bacchus Club Jazz Band and the popular African Heritage Band.

Eventually, he began his solo career, drawing inspiration from the traditional Ugandan music scene.

Samite immigrated to the United States in 1987 and now resides in Ithaca, N.Y., where he released his first recording, "Abaaba Bakesa" ("Dance My Children, Dance") with Shanachie Records.

His second release, "Pearl of Africa Reborn" retained the essence of African music and established Samite as an international music force.

In the summer of 1998, Samite traveled to his home country of Uganda to film the PBS documentary "Song of the Refugee."

The goal of the series was to present African refugees' hopeful vision of the future despite the violence and destruction around them.

It was Samite's first visit to Uganda since he fled in 1982 and, since then, he has been Uganda's unofficial music ambassador to the U.S.

"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," says Samite, whose goal is to open people's minds and hearts to these commonalities through music, stories and song.

KNOT 1450 AM, KQNA 1130 AM and the Performing Arts Charitable Endowment (PACE) are co-sponsoring this event.

The Yavapai College Performance Hall is located on the Prescott campus at 1100 E. Sheldon St.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for students, or $44 for a special family package, available at the Yavapai College Community Events Office in the art gallery of the Performance Hall, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Saturday, or by calling 776-2033.

Samite is one of several performers this season taking part in the "Discovering the World Around Us" residency program. He will present several daytime performances for local students and also appear at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, at Barnes & Noble Bookstore at the Prescott Gateway Mall.

Residency performances include music and intimate stories of Samite's life in Uganda and as a political refugee.

Samite is coming to Prescott with help from the City of Prescott/Acker Trust, Pam and Bob Haber, the Arizona Commission on the Arts and the Yavapai College fund artist in residence programs.

For information, call Debbie McCasland or Holly Reynolds at 776-2033.

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