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Patrick Mureithi Celebrates Return to Music Performance with CD Release Party

(Photo courtesy Patrick Mureithi)

Patrick Mureithi, Artist-in-Residence at Drury University, is perhaps best known as creator of two documentary films about Africa: Icyizere: Hope, focusing on ten survivors and ten perpetrators on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda; and Kenya: Until Hope is Found, a film about healing from the trauma of that country's 2007/8 post election violence.  A special fan of the latter film was the late film critic Roger Ebert, who not only called it "an urgent documentary by a filmmaker I admire," but even contributed funds toward the completion of the film.

But Patrick's first love is music, and he brought his ukelele to the KSMU studio to perform part of his song "To Be Loved", and discuss the CD release party for his new 10-song album This I Believe, scheduled for 6:30 to 8:30pm Saturday Feb.13 at Lindberg's on Commercial Street.

"I was involved with music soon after graduating from college here, when it was SMSU," says Patrick.  He and some friends progressed from "open-mic" nights to playing every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at the Outland and other local venues.

Eventually, though, he began to notice a serious problem.  "My (right) arm started getting numb and a little bit weak.  I didn't know what it was.  And I saw many physical therapists, masseuses and acupuncturists. I got some relief, but eventually, after 8 years, I wsa able to play maybe one, two songs at most.

"And then I met a young man from Fayetteville, Arkansas"--his name is Bryce Anderson--"who helped me to heal.  He said, 'Come to Fayetteville--I don't want your money, I will house you, I'll give you food, and we'll have a weekend of healing.  And that weekend I played more music than I'd played in the last ten years."

Anderson helped Patrick track down the cause of the numbness and weakness in Patrick's right arm. "I had surgery 20 years ago on the right side of my neck, to remove a swollen gland, and during the surgery the surgeon cut a nerve that controls the muscles that hold my right shoulder blade in place. And so I have some muscle atrophy on the right side of my body--which I'm dealing with, and it's fine." Patrick says Bryce Anderson showed him ways to strengthen the muscles "that are left" and begin to rebuild some of the muscles that have atrophied, through various body movements and exercises.  If he's not careful he still experiences some numbness, but now at least he can play an entire concert.

Patrick says his new 1o-song CD is "about overcoming.  A lot of it has been just about the past decade of not being able to do what I love. To be able to play music again is deeply satisfying and I love it."

There will be a release party for the new CD at Lindberg's Tavern, 318 W. Commercial St., Saturday February 13 from 6:30 to 8:30pm.  He'll have a backing band including Brandon Moore, Jimmy Raye, Ryan Dunn, and various guest musicians including Molly Healey, Jody Bilyeu and Jake Norman.  Admission will be $5, and of course, Patrick will have copies of the CD available for sale.

Randy Stewart joined the full-time KSMU staff in June 1978 after working part-time as a student announcer/producer for two years. His job has evolved from Music Director in the early days to encompassing production of a wide range of arts-related programming and features for KSMU, including the online and Friday morning Arts News. Stewart assists volunteer producers John Darkhorse (Route 66 Blues Express), Lee Worman (The Gold Ring), and Emily Higgins (The Mulberry Tree) with the production of their programs. He's also become the de facto "Voice of KSMU" in recent years due to the many hours per day he’s heard doing local station breaks. Stewart’s record of service on behalf of the Springfield arts community earned him the Springfield Regional Arts Council's Ozzie Award in 2006.