Photos & review by Catherine Roth:
“We were formed,” announced lead vocalist Reuben M. Koroma of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars with a contemplative pause, “in a refugee camp.” The nine-piece band then launched into their famous title track song, “Living Like a Refugee,” which lyrically is cold and dark. Yet the All Stars keep things upbeat, optimistic, and inspirational, continuously striving to make music that transforms, uplifts, and heals. I witnessed the first of the two shows RAS played on Tuesday evening at the Triple Door and was blown away. It took them awhile to warm up, but after the first half of their set, I wished I were 21 just so I could stay for their second performance. The band could jam– whether playing traditional African music with no electric instruments or reggae and calypso with Ashade Pearce as the phenomenal lead guitarist. And they could dance. The final song lasted a good ten minutes in which they each took turns taking center stage to display their limber moves that I wish I could obtain. Overall, the All Stars put on a great show that was politically informative and inspirational while also treating the ears to some good music; and I’ll venture to bet that the second show was even greater.
For more African music, check out Best Ambiance with Jon Kertzer on Mondays 6-9 pm, and for more music from around the globe, tune in to Wo’ Pop with Darek Mazzone on Tuesdays 6-9 pm.