Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

w/ Black Nature Band



Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and enflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa’s top touring and recording bands.

The Refugee All Stars were 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. In 2005, the documentary film, “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars” documented their story.

In 2006, their debut album, “Living Like a Refugee” was released to critical acclaim. In 2010, their second album, “Rise & Shine” was produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos. The album was recorded in New Orleans and features some of the city’s greatest local musicians.

In January 2011, the All Stars returned to the studio, this time in snow-covered Brooklyn, NY. Their producer for their third studio album was producer and keyboardist Victor Axelrod, aka Ticklah, who has worked with Amy Winehouse, Sharon Jones & the Dap Kings, Antibalas, The Easy Star All Stars and many others. A master of dub, roots reggae, classic soul, Afrobeat and more, Axelrod added a whole new dimension to the All Stars sound and helped them reveal how years of touring have honed their skills.

The All Stars took advantage of the vintage analog gear at Daptone affiliate Dunham Studios to record an album inspired by the retro sounds they heard blasting out of radios in their younger years. Old school reggae, funky African grooves and deep tribal chants form the musical underpinning of Radio Salone, which is scheduled for worldwide release on April 24,2012.

The album title references “Salone” – meaning “Sierra Leone” in the native language of Krio – in which the band sings (along with five other languages) on the new album. The radio theme appears throughout the album artwork and reflects the impact that radio has long had on the band. In the pre-TV and Internet days, radio served as a connection to the rest of Africa and the globe. Long before the war, members of the band were exposed to vintage reggae, Congolese soukouss, American soul, and much more. During the war, radio provided an essential escape from the harsh reality of the refugee camps, bringing news and music to people desperate for a link to the world beyond the camps.

Radio Salone represents a new musical high point for the group, and demonstrates once and for all that Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are one of the best bands in Africa and the world. With an active year of touring planned the All Stars look forward to building their global audience and bringing their message of hope and celebration to longtime fans and new audiences everywhere.

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“As harrowing as these personal tales may be, the music buoying them is uplifting. The cliche bears repeating: music heals and creates community.” – The New York Times

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