Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Sales Points: Samite's newest recording, EMBALASASA interweaves many subjects dear to Samite-native African fables and their morals, musings on the journey of life, of the experience of grief, of childhood, and of nature. His virtuosic performances (vocals, kalimba and flute) imbue the album with heartfelt emotion that Billboard Magazine noted when it said that 'Samite wraps his warm voice around melodies that seems to rise up off the Ugandan plateau, caressed by his kalimbas and other native instruments.' "Embalasasa" is the name of a colorful lizard, purple, red, blue and yellow, which inhabits Uganda. Beautiful, yet deadly when touched, it is a symbol which Samite uses in this album to typify how AIDS, a deadly disease transmitted through the most beautiful, vibrant and natural act of sex, has come to ravage much of Africa. Samite's interest in the issues facing children in war-torn countries is reflected by the fact that proceeds from the sale of each copy of EMBALASASA will go to the organization Musicians for World Harmony. 2006
Dirty Linen (p.66) - "Samite's music is suffused with gentleness and warmth. His voice is a sort of husky croon, emotional, but not overly demonstrative."
Personnel: Samite Mulondo (vocals, kalimba); David Cullen (guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, bass guitar); Tony Cedras (guitar, acoustic guitar, piano); Mar Gueye (drums); Angela Kalule (background vocals); Jeff Haynes (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Corin Nelsen.
Recording information: Samite Artistic Productions Studio.
Ugandan-born multi-instrumentalist Samite has a rare talent for creating memorable melodies that sound as if you've known them for years. On this disc "Nalubale," for example, seems achingly familiar, its name just out of reach, while "Nawe Okiwulira" sounds tantalizingly like one of those Afro-funk fusions Talking Heads attempted, only with far more polish and finesse. Gorgeously produced, the music and rhythm work perfectly together to build the songs, segueing easily and naturally from one track to the next. There's a strong imagination at work here, too. The African feel of the whole album is subtly muted with a Western flavor -- not a criticism, but a way of helping it find a wider audience. The vocals, all pitched seductively low in volume and tone, are like lovely poignant whispers, but with a positive message, as on "We Can Do Better." With its smoothness, it would be easy to dismiss Embalasasa as a new age disc, with all the shallowness implied in the tag. But it's not. There's a real depth of arrangement, technique, and passion here, with a sense of both roots and travel. In his own small way Samite is a magician, and Embalasasa is his most complete work yet. ~ Chris Nickson