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When I first wrote this song, I intentionally left a space in the middle to be filled with the words and voice of the Ugandan artist Samite. I wanted him to talk in his language about the Serengeti, and how important this place is to him, and to all of us.
He came to Will Ackerman’s studio in Vermont, and added the magic that you hear in this track. Afterward, I asked him to translate his words:
“This is what I am saying… the way I am saying it makes Serengeti to be a special place…to those who do not speak this language, right now this sounds very small and not powerful. But the way I am saying it in Luganda, which is a language spoken by the Baganda from Uganda, sounds very majestic:
“Serengeti, let me tell you about this place I have been, let me tell you about Serengeti. This is where great Animals like the lion, the cheetah hunt, where no one bothers them as they hunt - where you see greatness. A place where you see the Antelope roam free, a place where you see the antelope get hunted by the lions and the cheetah.”
The Serengeti ecosystem is one of the oldest on earth. The essential features of climate, vegetation and fauna have barely changed in the past million years. Early man himself made an appearance in Olduvai Gorge about two million years ago. Some patterns of life, death, adaptation and migration are as old as the hills themselves.
It is the migration for which Serengeti is perhaps most famous. Over a million wildebeest and about 200,000 zebras flow south from the northern hills to the southern plains for the short rains every October and November, and then swirl west and north after the long rains in April, May and June. So strong is the ancient instinct to move that no drought, gorge or crocodile infested river can hold them back.
Listening to Samite, you can feel the greatness of this place…
released August 28, 2007
Written by Jeff Oster
Published by Retso Music (ASCAP)
Jeff Oster – Flugelhorn, Synthesizer, Loop Programming
Keith Carlock – Drums
T. Bone Wolk – Bass
Philip Aaberg – Synthesizers
Samite – Vocals
Engineered by Corin Nelsen
Additional Engineering by Dexter Brown
Mixed by Bryan Carrigan and Jeff Oster
at Hyperion Sound – Los Angeles, CA.
Recorded at Imaginary Road Studios - Brattleboro, VT
and Animal Media - Chester, VT