Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

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Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.jpg
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars playing at the Festival International de Louisiane
Background information
OriginSierra Leone
GenresBaskeda, World, African
Years active2002–present

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (also called Refugee All Stars) is a band from Sierra Leone which was formed by a group of refugees displaced to Guinea during the Sierra Leone Civil War. Since their return to Freetown in 2004, the band has toured extensively to raise awareness for humanitarian causes. Their story is documented in the 2005 documentary film Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars.[1]

Performing at SXSW in 2006

Their debut album, Living Like a Refugee, was released in Europe on 25 September 2006 and in the US on 26 September 2006.[2][3]

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' second studio album, Rise & Shine, was released 23 March 2010 by Cumbancha. The disc was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The album was recorded at Piety Street Studio in New Orleans with local musicians Trombone Shorty, Washboard Chaz and Bonerama all guesting on the album.[4]

The band's third studio album, Radio Salone, was released on 24 April 2012 by Cumbancha. The album was produced by roots reggae, soul and Afrobeat artist Victor Axelrod, a.k.a. Ticklah and recorded at Dunham Studios in Brooklyn, NY.[5]

Marking the band's 10th anniversary, their most recent album "Libation" was released in 2014. It features elements of highlife and reggae as well as Afro-Latin rhythms. [6]

International recognition[edit]

The movie, albums and world tours helped expand their following, which resulted in the band performing in front of audiences of tens of thousands at New York’s Central Park SummerStage, Japan’s Fuji Rock Festival and the revered Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival. On 15 December 2006 they appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show.[7] The All Stars also contributed a song to the Blood Diamond film soundtrack, participated in the U2 tribute album in the Name of Love: Africa Celebrates U2,[8] and earned praise and backing from Sir Paul McCartney, Keith Richards, Ice Cube (an executive producer for the band's documentary film),[9] Angelina Jolie and others inspired by their life-affirming story and captivating music. In one of the "most surreal moments" of their climb to fame, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars opened for Aerosmith at the 12,000 capacity Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.[10][11]

Genre and musical style[edit]

The songs of the band fall into a number of different music styles, with some songs a fusion of more than one style.[3] Their music has been described as having a reggae style[12][13] but others have said this is incorrect and as Sierra Leone's baskeda music has a feel close to reggae, which the bands writer has commented about.[3] Writing in The Independent Andy Morgan describes this similarity as:

"Baskeda... that's my father's music, I used to love it when I was a kid so when I grew up I just tried to compose songs in that rhythm."

 —Reuben Koroma[14]

Other styles evident in the album include palm-wine and gumbe. The track Kele Mani "is lively gumbe, animated by bottle and hand-drum percussion and an ancient-sounding acoustic guitar."[3] The influence of traditional West African music is present, for example gbute vange a style of music of Mende people in the track Pat Malonthone. These styles are overlaid on a baskeda rhythm and given a modern feel with the use of electric guitars and drums.[14]

Performing at SXSW in 2006



External links[edit]


  1. ^ "IMDB".
  2. ^ "Sierra Leones Refugee All Stars Living Like a Refugee". [[ANTI-|]]. Archived from the original on 11 April 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  3. ^ a b c d Eyre, Banning (17 October 2006). "Band on the run Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars". Phoenix Media/Communications Group. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  4. ^ "Rosebud Agency".
  5. ^ "Jambase".
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Oprah Winfrey Website".
  8. ^ "Shout Factory".
  9. ^ "Ice Cube IMDB".
  10. ^ "Beckoning For Change Website".
  11. ^ "SLRAS Official Website".
  12. ^ Rytlewski, Evan (19 June 2006). "Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars Cope Through Song". Retrieved 5 March 2011.
  13. ^ Manson, Katrina; James Knight (2009). Sierra Leone. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 256. ISBN 978-1-84162-222-4.
  14. ^ a b c Andy, Morgan (24 November 2006). "Refugee All Stars: We are still undefeated". The Independent. London UK. Retrieved 5 March 2011.