Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. Today’s selection, featured on the Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is “Gbara Case” by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars from the 2012 album Radio Salone on Cumbancha.
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars should be no strangers to KEXP listeners. Formed in the refugee camps of Guinea in a civil war-torn Sierra Leone in the late 90s, this band built a worldwide audience as the subject of the 2006 documentary film, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. Over the past year, the band Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have been busy touring the world and also managed to record their impressive third album, Radio Salone. “Salone” means Sierra Leone in Krio, one of six languages on this album. Choosing to work with the highly acclaimed roots reggae, soul & Afrobeat producer Victor Axelrod (Sharon Jones and The Dap-Kings, Amy Winehouse, Easy Star All Stars, Antibalas) was obviously a savvy decision, as was the decision to record using vintage analog equipment at Brooklyn’s 16-track Dunham Studios. The result is the band’s strongest, most honest, and musically sophisticated album to date, seamlessly blending soukous, Afrobeat and more traditional West African styles with roots-reggae, dub, and even funk. Radio Salone is an impressive follow-up to the band’s 2010 album, Rise & Shine, and offers the perfect opportunity to re-explore this great band.
For more information, check out the band’s website and follow them on Facebook. You can also check out Sierra Leon’s Refugee All Stars performing “Goat Smoke Pipe” live in the KEXP studio back about this same time two years ago: