Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs and recordings from independent artists our DJ’s think you should hear. Each and every Friday we deliver songs by local artists. Today’s selection is “Jah Come Down” by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars from the 2010 album Rise & Shine on Cumbancha.
With a strong aim to create consciousness in a world that faces war and to promote human rights everywhere, comes a band that expresses through music their desire for peace and justice; Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars is group of twelve musicians who joined in the wake of Sierra Leone’s civil war, after they were relocated to Guinea. While being resettled from camp to camp for several years, these musicians gathered together to make music and in 2004 released their debut album, Living Like a Refugee, featuring a mixture of the West African grooves, reggae and ska. The band gained popularity not only through their unique musical style, but also with the release of a documentary that tells their story during Sierra Leone’s civil war.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars’ second record, Rise & Shine, was released this year and comes loaded with the great instrumentation that combines the musical traditions and styles that now define this twelve piece and the inspiring lyrics that convey the band’s history, culture and philosophy towards humanitarian activities, but also, as most noticeably apparent on today’s song of the day, “Jah Come Down,” it’s a tribute to the roots of reggae music. Despite the band’s origins (or in spite of them), it’s another optimistic, uplifting album that is ultimately life-affirming, even when it is politically critical.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars recently visited KEXP for a live in-studio, featuring songs from their most recent material. To listen to the band’s performance, visit the Live In-studio Performances archive, and check out their official website for more information about the band. Here are several videos from the band’s session at KEXP: