Living Like a Refugee

Living Like a Refugee

by Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars


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Living Like a Refugee

It's impossible to briefly describe the Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars without sounding trite or falling into pathos. How to just mention in passing the forming of a band by a group of artists who between them survived the worst atrocities that man has inflected on his fellow men? A 2002 documentary, The Refugee All Stars, has already captured the group and their lives in a Guinean refugee camp, and two of the songs performed in the film bookend this set. Since then the group has flourished, at least musically. Living Like a Refugee is the All Stars' recording debut, tinged with the trauma of their lives, but in the end an uplifting record that reinforces bandleader Reuben Koroma's abiding belief in the healing qualities of music. And the music is marvelous. It's a heady, happy blend of roots reggae, West African goomba, and American blues. "Smile," the group request, and how can you not, as the group sweetly check off the list of the wicked while also offering a lesson in righteousness? The bubbly "Big Lesson" juxtaposes the bad and the good, a not surprisingly recurring theme in the group's lyrics. The Wailers are an obvious influence on the group, but the differences between the two are equally notable, starting with the choral vocals, the African rhythms that sift through the songs, and the upbeat backings that accompany even the most downbeat and angriest of their songs. Add Geassay "Jah Sun" Dowu Bull's blues-styled, fingerpicked lead guitar, and the band really are in a class all their own. Those unfamiliar with the All Stars may expect this album to be an emotionally wrenching experience, but the stark lyrics of songs like "Living Like a Refugee" and "Refugee Rolling" certainly pack a surprisingly understated punch. That's deliberate, for the group refuse to dwell too much on past traumas; survival means looking forward, finding happiness where one can, and working and educating a new generation towards a better future. And that's precisely what the album offers -- new life, new hope, and the desire to smile and dance one's pain into dust. As musically satisfying as it is soul-comforting, this could well be the most uplifting album of the year.

Product Details

Release Date: 09/26/2006
Label: Anti
UPC: 0045778683727
catalogNumber: 86837
Rank: 133703

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars   Primary Artist
Mohamed Bangoura   Percussion,Vocals
Daniel Cinelli   Overdubs
Chris Velan   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Keyboards,Vocals
Idrissa "Malam" Bangura   Bass,Bass Guitar
Mohammed "Funky" Bangura   Bass,Percussion,Vocals
Abdul Bean   Rhythm Guitar
Geassay Jahson Dowu Bull   Guitar,Percussion
Efuah Grace   Vocals
Frank Hallowei   Keyboards
Abdul Rahim "Arahim" Kamara   Percussion,Vocals
Alhaji Jeffrey "Black Nature" Kamara   Vocals,Rap
Mohammed "Makengo" Kamara   Percussion,Vocals
Mohammed Bedo Kamara   Drums
Reuben M. Koroma   Leader,Vocals
Francis John "Franco" Langba   Rhythm Guitar,Vocals
Andrew "Jah Open The Door" Mamania   Percussion,Vocals
Mustapha "Nico" Massaquoi   Percussion,Drums
Ashade Pearce   Guitar,Vocals
Francis John Langba   Guitar,Vocals
Alhaji Jeffrey Kamara   Rap
Mohammed Makengo Kamara   Percussion,Vocals
Mustapha Massaquoi   Percussion,Drums

Technical Credits

Mohamed Bangoura   Author
Traditional   Composer
Chris Velan   Producer,Audio Production
Sam "Stovepipe No. 1" Jones   Engineer
Efuah Grace Ampomah   Author
Abdul Rahim "Arahim" Kamara   Author
Alhaji Jeffrey "Black Nature" Kamara   Author
Reuben M. Koroma   Composer,Liner Notes,Author
Francis John "Franco" Langba   Author
Zach Niles   Engineer,Liner Notes,Executive Producer
Ashade Pearce   Composer
James Schaaf   Art Direction
Stephen Stanard   Cover Art
Banker White   Engineer,Executive Producer

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