Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

From their origins in exile, playing scrounged instruments in Guinea refugee camps during Sierra Leone's horrific civil war, the Refugee All Stars created effervescent music that lifted the spirits of their displaced compatriots. Now, a decade after the war's end and subsequent repatriation of the refugees, the All Stars have become renowned on the world-music circuit. The group's newly released third album, Radio Salone, offers a fresh dose of the Stars' trademark blend of myriad strains of Afro-pop, reggae, soca, ska, funk, scintillating poly-rhythms, and vocal harmonies entwined in call-and-response interplay. The wild card this time around is producer Victor Axelrod, a.k.a. Ticklah, who has worked with Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Antibalas, and the Easy Star All Stars, and who laces the tracks with subtle but potent new ingredients, particularly from the realm of dub. The band has never sounded so assured, from the opening resonant dub of "Chant It Down" to the exuberant soukous of "Gbara Case" and classic roots-reggae grooves of "Big Fat Dog" and "Work It Brighter." (Photo by Banker White)
Tue., June 5, 7 p.m., 2012

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