Bringing Music Therapy to Northern Uganda
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In May 2007, music therapy professor Karen Wacks, traveled with eight Berklee students to Kenya on a service learning trip sponsored by Musicians for World Harmony (MWH), a nonprofit group created by former Ugandan refugee, Samite Mulondo. Since that time, the relationship with MWH has continued and in February 2013, Wacks returned from Uganda with Samite.
Together, they will be presenting their work on using music performance and therapy for ex-child soldiers from the Lord’s Resistance Army’s (LRA) to address issues of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as mental, emotional, and spiritual development.
Wacks is in her 16th year as a faculty member at Berklee. She is committed to helping students at Berklee stay healthy in mind, body, and spirit, and continues to serve and participate in the steering committee for the Performance Wellness Institute as well as the Graduate Programs Steering Committee. She serves as a consultant to the Musico Terapia Latino America Coalition, an international alliance of music therapists from Latin America and travels to explore the healing aspects of music internationally. In February, she was sponsored by Musicians for World Harmony and executive director, Mulondo to travel to Uganda to develop a feasibility study on using music performance and therapy for those in need. She is the clinical training coordinator for the Music Therapy Department and continues to play French horn with the Berklee Faculty Brass Ensemble.
The world-renowned musician, Mulondo, was born and raised in Uganda, where his grandfather taught him to play the traditional flute. When he was 12, a music teacher placed a Western flute in his hands, setting him on his way to becoming one of East Africa's most acclaimed flutists. He immigrated to the United States in 1987 and now he and his wife Sandra, make their home in Ithaca, New York. Today, his smooth vocals accompanied by the kalimba, marimba, litungu, and various flutes mesmerize audiences throughout the world. He serves as the executive director of the nonprofit, Musicians for World Harmony and is committed to bringing music for healing to refugee camps, orphanages, and programs in Africa. Most recently, Mulondo composed the soundtrack for the film, Addiction Incorporated, and his ninth CD, Trust, (inspired by the soundtrack for the film) was released in 2012.