05 January 2006

Sierra Leone & The Refugee All Stars (CD review)

A few days ago, the last of the UN peacekeeping force left Sierra Leone, which suffered a brutal civil war between 1991 and 2000. (The UN mandate following the official end of the war in 2002 expired at the end of 2005.) The war saw the death of at least 50,000 people in this west African nation of 5 million, and the displacement of many more into refugee camps. Among those in the camps in neighboring Guinea were six musicians, who formed the Refugee All Stars band They toured other camps, and recorded an album that has just been released by Sodasoap Productions of San Francisco.

The album Living Like a Refugee includes one disc of raw field recordings from the refugee camps in Guinea, and one disc of studio recordings done in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The music -- African folk/pop with a strong reggae influence -- includes heartbreaking messages of peace and forgiveness, despite what the refugees have been through. A film on the band recently won "Best Documentary" award at the American Film Institute's International Film Festival. Information on future film screenings and other band news is available at www.refugeeallstars.org

[mp3] The Refugee All Stars: Mental Slavery
buy the album and hear more song samples at CD baby
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