The past few years have been an exciting time for the former refugees. They have appeared on everything from NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to the Oprah Winfrey Show, describing their journey fleeing from civil war in their home country of Sierra Leone, to the refugee camps in West Africa where the All Stars met and became a band, into the world's spotlight, where they proclaim their inspirational message of hope and courage through infectious grooves.
Additionally, the self-named documentary film which started their journey from refugee camp to world stage has screened to great critical acclaim at film festivals all over the world over the past few years, winning 13 awards, such as the Grand Jury Prize for Best Documentary at the AFI Film Festival in 2005. They have been hugely supported by celebrity/activists such as Sir Paul McCartney, Keith Richards and Angelina Jolie in the presentation of the film, which documents the story of the band and their triumph over the worst kinds of adversity.
The All Stars appeared with R.E.M, U2, Green Day and others on the Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur release, Instant Karma. On the CD, the band collaborated with the legendary rockers Aerosmith on the John Lennon classic, "Give Peace A Chance." The band is also joined by Joe Perry on a cover version of U2's "Seconds" for the compilation CD, In The Name Of Love: Africa Celebrates U2, set for release April 1st, 2008. A portion of the album's proceeds will directly benefit The Global Fund and features 12 artists each representing a different region of Africa.
Diverse in age and character, from Reuben M. Koroma, the sage, 43-year old songwriter and guiding light of the group, to Black Nature, an orphaned 20-year-old rapper, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars have a common bond of in the loss and displacement and a shared belief in the transformative power of music. "As harrowing as these personal tales may be, the music buoying them is uplifting," writes New York Times critic Stephen Holden. "The clichÃƒÂ© bears repeating: music heals and creates community."
Make sure to catch the spirit with the Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars on the following dates:
1/23/2008 - Agnes Scott College - Decatur, GA 1/24/2008 - University of Tennessee - Knoxville, TN 1/26/2008 - The Grey Eagle - Asheville, NC 1/27/2008 - Carver Theater - Birmingham, AL 1/28/2008 - Middle Tennesee State University - Murfreesboro, TN 2/2/2008 - Granada Theater - Dallas, TX 2/4/2008 - The Blue Note - Columbia, MO 2/6/2008 - Fox Theatre & Cafe - Boulder, CO 2/8/2008 - Wheeler Opera House - Aspen, CO 2/9/2008 - Lensic Performing Arts Center - Santa Fe, NM 2/10/2008 - KTAO Solar Center - Taos, NM 2/13/2008 - Irvine Barclay Theatre - Irvine, CA 2/15/2008 - UC Santa Barbara-Campbell Hal - Santa Barbara, CA 2/16/2008 - UCLA -Royce Hall - Los Angeles, CA 2/17/2008 - Scottsdale Center for the Arts - Scottsdale, AZ 2/19/2008 - Rio Theatre - Santa Cruz, CA 2/20/2008 - Humboldt State University - Arcata, CA 2/21/2008 - John G. Shedd Institute for the Arts - Eugene, OR 2/23/2008 - Moore Theatre - Seattle, WA 2/24/2008 - Broadway Center for the Performing Arts - Tacoma, WA 2/26/2008 - Wilma Theater - Missoula, MT 2/27/2008 - Emerson Theater - Bozeman, MT 3/3/2008 - Guthrie Theater - Minneapolis, MN 3/7/2008 - Big Cypress Seminole Indian Reservation - Big Cypress, FL