Music and Human Rights


Contributed by Stewart Auyash

Samite, the East African flutist and singer whom Pete Seeger called "a superb musician," will present "Is There a Role for Music in Areas of Conflict?" at Ithaca College on Tuesday, April 6.

The performance and discussion will begin at 3:30 p.m. in Clark Lounge, Egbert Hall. Sponsored by the Department of Health Policy Studies, the event is free and open to the public.

Born and raised in Uganda, Samite became one of the most highly acclaimed singers and flutists in East Africa. Immigrating to the United States in 1987, he now makes his home in Ithaca. During the summer of 1999 Samite went back to Africa to film the PBS documentary "Song of the Refugee." This film, along with his latest CD release, Kambu Angels, was inspired by a desire to give African refugees hope for the future in spite of the suffering and loss they have endured.

"When I returned to Africa to film 'Song of the Refugee,' I saw how refugee children in Liberia, the Ivory Coast, Rwanda, and Uganda came alive when I sang to them and they responded with a song of their own," Samite says. "I looked into the eyes of these children and saw their spirits lifted with just one song and realized that music is a powerful healing force."

In addition to his musical efforts, Samite serves as director of Musicians for World Harmony, an organization that encourages musicians throughout the world to share their music with people oppressed by poverty, starvation, or civil unrest. By performing in refugee camps and resettlement communities in Africa, musicians sponsored by Samite's organization hope to promote healing and recovery.

For more information visit or contact Stewart Auyash, associate professor and chair of health policy studies, at or call (607) 274-1312.

Contributed by Stewart Auyash