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Release: Immediate

(NOTE TO EDITORS: Samite is pronounced "sah-mee-tay.")

Samite brings 'the soul of Africa' to March 5 concert in UI Hancher Auditorium

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Ugandan musician and singer Samite and his trio will perform his contemporary version of African traditional music at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 5 in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium. The event, which is part of Hancher's Voices of Africa series, will complete a four-day residency including a variety of educational events.

The public is also invited to two free events: a film and reception at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 at the UI Afro-American Cultural Center, and a free community drumming circle, which Samite and his trio will lead, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 4 in Old Brick. West Music Company will provide drums for those who wish to participate but do not have their own instruments.

Samite will also work with fourth-, fifth- and sixth-grade students at Grant Wood Elementary School Monday, March 2, and with third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students at the Johnson School of the Arts in Cedar Rapids on Tuesday, March 3.

On Tuesday afternoon, Samite will be linked through the Iowa Communications Network to four schools for an interactive workshop. Through the UI Art Share outreach program, the UI Percussion Ensemble will visit interested schools in advance to lead workshops introducing African rhythms and percussion, and will also be available for follow-up workshops. On March 5, area school groups will visit Hancher for a Samite performance on the Stage Door series.

Joseph Shabalala, the leader of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, says, "When you hear the music of Samite, the soul of Africa is revealed." Samite, who is now based in the United States, is one of a growing group of innovative musicians who bring both a reverence for tradition and a contemporary global vision to the ancient instruments and rhythms of Africa.

His voice, in a variety of Ugandan languages with some English thrown in, speaks of love and serenity, while his instrumentation including drums, flute, accordion and kalimba (thumb piano) generates an infectious rhythm.

UI Men's Intercollegiate Athletics is the sponsor of the Voices of Africa Series, though the University of Iowa Foundation. A grant to Arts Share from US West supports the ICN activities.

Tickets are $22, $20 and $18. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20 percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 or younger are half price. Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance in Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty and staff may select payroll deduction.

People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158. The line is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.