The group comes from the West African country of Sierra Leone. They were displaced to Guinea during the savage and horrific civil war that plagued the country during the 1990s. Originally hailing from its capital, Freetown, they met in a refugee camp and the band was born in exile. They played to fellow refugees in attempts to lift spirits, despite the terrible circumstances inflicted upon them.
They sang to Dublin of such experiences, such as having no food and no jobs, but did so and conveyed such terrible issues by cloaking them in the most remarkably optimistic of music. Their style is a combination of reggae, African and world music and is very upbeat, with a delightful infusion of rock-steady, calypso and tropical with deadly percussions thrown into the mix.
Singing in both English and their native tongue, the group engaged in social commentary and shared personal experiences through their music, regarding what it was like living the life of a refugee, in the most positive manner.
It is hard to comprehend the extent of the suffering the band members witnessed in their lives as all human rights were obliterated in their country.
Their performance was deeply enlightening, as it showed how the potent human spirit cannot be eroded despite the starkest of hardships.
Lead singer Reuben Koroma explained that happiness is life, throwing the most tremendous of shapes. By the end of the show they had utterly charmed their audience, everyone had abandoned their seats to dance – it was impossible not to, as the band's energy was nothing short of infectious.
It was a wonderful and truly inspiring concert coordinated by Walton's World Masters. They are genuine survivors and their story is a one of triumph over tragedy. They are an absolute must see.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Starsare not only talented and intelligent musicians, but ambassadors and warriors of hope and living proof that the human spirit can be unbreakable in the ugly face of adversity. They proved that strength of character can lead to great things.