When most people think of African music, they think percussion. But the beats are only the beginning here. On this CD, a collection of instrumentals that sprang from Samite’s deep knowledge of tradition and his recent soundtrack work, the producers explore the storytelling powers of many instruments and Africa’s melodic roots.
“We want people to hear the many parts of African music. We wanted to take out the drums, yet still retain the music’s power to make people dance. To make it beautiful and deep.”
To do this Samite worked in close concert with a trusted group of friends and top musicians, collaborating on production. TRUST takes Samite’s signature melodies and rhythmic sensibilities, and transforms them with everything from ringing guitars to a velvet-voiced cello, along with Samite’s sprightly kalimba (thumb piano) and lyrical flute.
All proceeds from TRUST will go to Musicians for World Harmony (musiciansforworldharmony.org), a non-profit initiative to bring healing to people displaced and traumatized by conflict via music performance and music therapy.
Samite knows the true value of trust. A multi-instrumentalist steeped in the traditional culture of his Ugandan upbringing, he was forced by a brutal war to flee his home as a young man. After years as a refugee in Kenya, Samite landed in the U.S. and began using his musical vision to give back to distraught people in African conflict zones.
Recently, he was asked by director Charles Evans, Jr. to contribute to the documentary ADDICTION INCORPORATED. The musical vignettes designed to illustrate the film’s narrative took on a life of their own. Soon, Evans, South African guitarist and close friend Tony Cedras, and Samite found themselves in the control booth of Daddy’s House Recording Studios, P Diddy’s studio in New York, urging other musicians to play the parts Samite usually performed himself. “We made most decisions between the three of us. It was the most democratic working environment ever,” Samite says. Once the soundtrack was composed, Evans suggested that the musical cues be developed into songs for a full-length CD - and TRUST is the result.
The trio of producers discovered unexpected special moments in their work together. Evans was filming a recording session and caught Cedras playing the title track, Trust, on guitar. On film, only Cedras’ rippling playing was audible and the friends were struck by its spare beauty. The serendipitious discovery became “Trust, Unplugged.”
This project was so fulfilling for the trio that they have already embarked on a second recording project, this one featuring Cedras’ musical roots.