Presented in partnership with Okayafrica
“A fabulous, gifted band: down to earth, full of life and absolutely going in the right direction.”
After a 10-year adventure that has taken them from the squalor of refugee camps to the world's biggest stages, Africa's most inspirational band returns to Artisphere following the March 18 launch of their latest album, Libation
(stream the new album here!
For these beautiful recordings, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars
go full circle to the acoustic, "around the campfire" sound that appeared on their first album, much of which was recorded in the refugee camps during their years in exile from Sierra Leone. Libation
's acoustic intimacy, toe-tapping rhythms, catchy melodies, honest soulfulness, socially conscious lyrics and musical dexterity reveal how far the group has come while remaining true to its roots. The band experimented with a variety of vintage guitars and hand percussion to create unexpected sonic qualities, but also made a concerted effort to mine the riches of Sierra Leonean folklore, basing their songs on the highlife, maringa and palm wine styles from their youth that are not heard as often today, as well as baskeda and gumbe, the Sierra Leonean relatives of reggae and soukous respectively.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars were first introduced to the world through an acclaimed documentary film that followed their formation in West African refugee camps and the challenges they faced returning to a homeland racked by years of bloody warfare. Since the release of the documentary and their debut album, Living Like a Refugee
, the group has gone from being unknown musicians to touring the world to support critically acclaimed albums. In 2012, the band released Radio Salone
which was named was named the 2012 “World Music Album of the Year” by the CBCRadio Canada. NPR enthused, “Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars share experiences of violence, loss and the tedium of life in the camps. But when they make music together, something unexpected emerges: buoyant grooves and fierce optimism.” Elikeh mixes Afro-beat with traditional Togolese polyrhythms to produce captivating tunes that are as listenable as they are danceable. Although based in indigenous traditions, Elikeh’s music has no borders, exploring global themes and personal odysseys.