Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars turned tragedy into upbeat, energizing music inspired by traditional Sierra Leonean styles gumbe and maskeda, along with soukous and reggae!
Frontman Ruben Koroma and his wife Grace were displaced by Sierra Leone’s bloody civil war in 1997, and found themselves in a Guinean refugee camp where they met up with guitarist Francis John Langba and bassist Idrissa Bangura. These musicians, along with a single mic, two donated guitars and the wish to entertain their fellow refugees is what launched Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. They returned to Freetown in 2004, where they were joined by several rotating members and became the subject of the 2005 documentary, also titled Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars.
Since then, the group has risen to fame thanks to four acclaimed studio albums (most recently Libation in 2014) and several international tours, traveling both as a solo act and with other groups such as Dispatch and Aerosmith.
You can stream Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars here at KUTX!