Today, weâ€™re going to be reviewing a new album called Embalasasa, by the artist Samite. Now this sounded like the kind of album where I might want to purchase a little verde from my good friend Fumo Verde to enhance the experience. However, heâ€™s currently residing in the local lock-up at the moment. Something about public nudity and committing unnatural acts with an animal. So, Iâ€™ll have to roll sober on this one.
Embalasasa is the beautiful, multi-colored, but poisonous lizard that surfaced all over Samiteâ€™s Ugandan homeland when he was 12-years-old. â€śWhenever an embalasasa came into the house, we all climbed on top of a table and called my grandfather to come and kill it. We knew we were safe as long as grandpa was around; he used his walking cane to protect us.â€ť
â€śOn the title song, I call my grandpa to come with his walking cane and kill the modern embalasasa, AIDS, a deadly disease transmitted through the most beautiful, vibrant, and natural act.â€ť The album's songs draw on Ugandan folklore, geography, and struggle to express words of allegory, healing, and hope. In addition to AIDS, his curative songs address war, intolerance, the death of a loved one, and survival.
This is one of those albums you need to be in a mellow, happy kind of mood to enjoy, (hence my desire for some verde) because the music itself is melodious and kind, and Samite sings in the warmest and mellowest of gentle voices, picture Bobby McFerrin on tranquilizers, being backed by flutes and kalimbas. If you donâ€™t like being lulled then it will drive you batty.
â€śGive me something a little up-tempo,â€ť youâ€™ll eventually say. â€śWhy does he have to be so pleasant and earnest all the time? Itâ€™s like having a Jehovahâ€™s Witness at your door for 45 minutes." Despite some definite good moments, the song "Nawe Okiwulira" sounds like one of those Afro-funk fusions the Talking Heads attempted, only a lot better — this is why people write off most world music as New Age niceness. Itâ€™s not bad, but yaaaaawwwwnnnâ€¦