Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Living Like a Refugee (Cover Artwork)

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars: Living Like a RefugeeLiving Like a Refugee (2006)
Anti- Records

Reviewer Rating: 4.5

Contributed by: GlassPipeMurderGlassPipeMurder
(others by this writer | submit your own)

In early summer 2002, a group of friends set out to make a documentary film about the role of music in refugee camps in West Africa. We didn't know what to expect, but after a chance meeting with the Refugee All Stars, it was immediately clear to us that their story needed be told. Forced from their.
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In early summer 2002, a group of friends set out to make a documentary film about the role of music in refugee camps in West Africa. We didn't know what to expect, but after a chance meeting with the Refugee All Stars, it was immediately clear to us that their story needed be told. Forced from their homes in Sierra Leone by a brutal civil war (1991-2002), the band came together in a refugee camp to play music as a way to understand the tragedy they had suffered, the injustice they had witnessed and to give hope to their fellow refugees.

The title track on this album, 'Living Like a Refugee' was recorded by the light of an oil lamp in Sembakounya Refugee Camp in Guinea. Playing on impossibly worn instruments, the band sang and laughed into the night. Healing and being healed through their music.
The above, written by Zach Niles, Banker White, and Chris Velan is found on the inside cover of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' Living Like a Refugee and provides perfect pretext for an album that can only hope to be described in words.

The most impressive things an album can do is convey a feeling of place through words, rhythms, and melodies. The sounds of Operation Ivy's "Energy" offer a perfect time capsule of East Bay, California in the late 1980s. Sick of It All will always invoke visions of a sweaty, cramped, NYC hardcore show. With Living Like a Refugee, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars transport the listener thousands of miles to the west coast of Africa in the midst of a time of urgency and crisis. Yet with each song that plays like a history of tragedy and suffering, there is passion and hope. Not only do the Refugee All Stars sing of a world outside their civil war, they truly believe it will come.

Strolling easily between reggae rhythms and traditional West African styles, Living Like a Refugee is at once relaxing and inspiring. The laid-back reggae jam "Weapon of Conflict" provides the ingenious proverb, "When two elephants are fighting, the grass dem' a-suffer," expressing the plight of innocent civilians when two powers clash. The acoustic "Refugee Rolling" offers the blunt reality of being a refugee from a warring nation with the line, "Today you settle, tomorrow you pack! This is the work of a refugee."

Living Like a Refugee is more than just a good listen. It is entertaining, yes, but it's also thought-provoking, uplifting, and inspiring. From a world of famine, poverty, and war comes a nearly perfect album. It's an album that will never make it anywhere near the Billboard top 100, but is already a classic in this reviewer's collection.


People who liked this also liked:
Less Than Jake - Hello RockviewThe Gaslight Anthem - Sink or SwimThe Weakerthans - Reunion TourRancid - ... And Out Come The WolvesThe Slackers - PeculiarLanghorne Slim - When the Sun's Gone DownStrike Anywhere - Dead FMThe Kings of Nuthin' - Fight Songs... for Fuck UpsJoe Strummer and The Mescaleros - StreetcoreFifth Hour Hero - Scattered Sentences

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
robg (October 24, 2006)

In the words of the Minutemen, punk is whatever we want it to be.

Scootz_McNasty (October 24, 2006)

The World MD at my college station was raving about this to me last week. I looked at the label and saw it was Anti-. That was enough convincing for me. Definatley a solid record, and quite an interesting story.

MattTGS (October 24, 2006)

i thought this was PUNKnews.org......amirite?

JayTee (October 24, 2006)

Wait so like this features Wyclef and Lauren Hill and stuff? What's going on.

wildo (October 24, 2006)

More punk than any punk could ever wish to be?

kirbypuckett (October 24, 2006)

I am dying to hear this.

- Kirby

Osloboditelj (October 24, 2006)

Really interesting concept, and considering how good well-done west afican music can be, probably worth listening to. I'll check it out.

GlassPipeMurder (October 24, 2006)

had to do real homework and couldn't think a good line to go out on. sort of like peter griffin's "well...that's my momma" exit on family guy. i wish i would have come up with something more appropriate, but it's too late now.

danperrone (October 24, 2006)

wow the review has me interested to hear this album

but what's with the last line of the review?

Fuzzy (October 24, 2006)

I am so glad this got a review. Excellent music.

GlassPipeMurder (October 24, 2006)

Apparently Jones is on a sarcastic/sadistic rampage tonight (see other reviews). I can assure you though, that this band neither likes Sublime nor is like them in any way. Although they do say "na na na" a lot.

stevejonestherealbones (October 24, 2006)

this band, with the "OOOHHH ALLSTARS we like SUblime, da na na, na na na"

disgusts me to no end.

first time i have been disgusted by a band in a really long time because of the songs they actually wrote

for some reason that song disgusts me as much as davey havok does

- jones the bones

- stevejones8770@yahoo.com

freesandwich (October 24, 2006)


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