Rise & Shine

by: Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

As their name implies, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are refugees who came together in West Africa. Recorded in their homeland and in New Orleans -- another place torn apart, albeit for different reasons -- the debut disc they've created is a very powerful mix of rootsy West African music and reggae. Some of it is very rooted, like the drumming and singing of the opening "Muloma" or "Oruwiebie Magazine Bobo Medley," while the deliciously lengthy "Tamagbnodorsu" comes across like high-energy soukous, powered by some wonderful guitar. Reggae is the heartbeat of this album, drawing inspiration not only from Bob Marley but also the deeper spiritual strains of Burning Spear, whose influence can be heard on "Jah Come Down." But "Global Threat" and "Jah Mercy" stand as strong testaments of African reggae, and "Gbrr Mani" edges into an interesting African/dancehall mix. Whatever style they're using, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have a lot to say, and they say it very eloquently indeed. ~ Chris Nickson

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