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Album Review

As their name implies, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are refugees who came together in West Africa. Recorded in their homeland and in New Orleans — another place torn apart, albeit for different reasons — the debut disc they've created is a very powerful mix of rootsy West African music and reggae. Some of it is very rooted, like the drumming and singing of the opening "Muloma" or "Oruwiebie Magazine Bobo Medley," while the deliciously lengthy "Tamagbnodorsu" comes across like high-energy soukous, powered by some wonderful guitar. Reggae is the heartbeat of this album, drawing inspiration not only from Bob Marley but also the deeper spiritual strains of Burning Spear, whose influence can be heard on "Jah Come Down." But "Global Threat" and "Jah Mercy" stand as strong testaments of African reggae, and "Gbrr Mani" edges into an interesting African/dancehall mix. Whatever style they're using, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have a lot to say, and they say it very eloquently indeed.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Born out of both the pressure of political oppression and the need for artistic expression, the members of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars met in a refugee camp in Guinea, after having fled the attacks of rebel forces in their native Sierra Leone. The group, led by Reuben Koroma, moved to a camp in the Guinean countryside where, with the help of a grant from an aid organization, they were able to procure proper instruments and amplifiers. During this time, two American documentary filmmakers began...
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Rise & Shine, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
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