Friday, June 12, 2009

Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars in Minneapolis





Reuben M. Koroma
- band leader, lead vocals
Francis John Langba 'Franco'
- rhythm guitar, kongroma, vocals
Abdul Rahim Kamara 'Arahim'
- vocals, percussion
Efuah Grace
- vocals
Alhaji Jeffrey Kamara 'Black Nature'

- rap, vocals
Mohamed Bangura 'Medo'
- vocals, percussion, kongroma
Ashade Pearce
- lead guitar, vocals
Mustapha Massaquoi 'Nico'
- drums, percussion
Idrissa 'Malam' Bangura
- bass guitar
Geassay 'Jah Sun' Dowu Bull
- lead guitar, percussion
Mohammed 'Makengo' Kamara
- vocals, percussion Abdul Beal
- guitar

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

Books For Africa, Schools For Salone, and The Cedar celebrate the return of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars to Minneapolis:

Friday, June 19, 8 p.m., at the Cedar Cultural Center

The Band would like to meet with Sierra Leoneans at the venue between 6-7:30pm. Tickets are limited, so buy yours now and be there on time Photo by Jane Richey

The Schools For Salone and Books For Africa partnership is supplying much needed text and library books to children who are hungry to learn.

Books are really important in the country. Thousands of books and many schools were destroyed during the war, and the country is still making efforts to rebuild.”

~ Alhaji Jeffrey Kamara 'Black Nature', Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars

Tickets: www.thecedar.org, Cedar Ticketline (612-338-2674 ext 2), Cedar outlets, and online at Ticketweb.
$22 advance, $25 day of show



Sierra Leone Refugee All stars

Near the turn of the 21st century, rebel forces attacked Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone, forcing a panicked mass exodus to neighboring countries. Among the thousands who fled were musicians and future band mates Reuben Koroma and Francis Lamgba (Franco) who connected in a refugee camp in Guinea, West Africa. Along with Reuben’s wife Grace they began making music for their fellow refugees, providing a welcome distraction to life in the camps. Safety in the Kalia camp quickly disintegrated, however, when it came under attack from the Guinean army and citizenry. The refugees in this camp were evacuated and relocated to a camp set deep in the remote Guinean countryside. It was here that, thanks to a Canadian refugee aid organization, the developing band was able to acquire the rusted-out sound system and beat up electric guitars that helped officially launch the group.

It was also in this camp that American documentary filmmakers Banker White and Zach Niles along with Canadian singer-songwriter Chris Velan encountered the group, which by that point also included Black Nature, a teenaged orphan with a gift for rap, as well as Abdulrahim Kamara (Arahim) and Mohamed Bangura (Medo), both of whom had had limbs amputated by the rebels. The first-time filmmakers followed the band for three years as they moved from camp to camp. While filming, the United Nations sponsored a trip for the group to return to Freetown so they could see for themselves that the war was indeed over and safe for thousands of refugees to return home. As part of the trip, the UNHCR offered the band the opportunity to make their first studio recordings, which led to leader Reuben Koroma uniting the core group from the refugee camp with his former band mates, The Emperors, many of whom had remained in Freetown during the war. Together they recorded their debut album as Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. The current touring lineup features members of both entities.

Now Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars tour the world spreading their message of peace and love in a "can't help but dance" show that fans from all musical backgrounds can enjoy. With a spirited fusion of traditional West African music, roots reggae and rhythmic traditional folk, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars craft music that transforms and uplifts.

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