Led by singer-songwriter Reuben Koroma, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have evolved into road-seasoned ambassadors of peace through music since coming together—with the help of instruments donated by a Canadian relief agency—in a Guinean refugee camp toward the end of their homeland’s decade-long civil war. Where their 2006 debut album focused on life in the camp, the follow-up took a wider view of poverty and other third-world issues. The octet’s (Brooklyn-recorded) 2012 album, Radio Salone, was inspired by Sierra Leone’s creole culture and the influence of radio, resulting in a strong Afrocentric blend of Guinea-Bissau’s zouk-influenced gumbe rhythm, palm-wine guitars, gentle folk songs, Congolese soukous, the lilting baskeda drum sound reminiscent of Jamaica’s nyabinghi drummers, and reggae redemption songs.
Sun., June 2, 8 p.m., 2013
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 29, 2013