"The plight of the refugee in today's war-torn world is captured in the African proverb "When two elephants are fighting, the grass dem' a-suffer." So it was in Sierra Leone from 1991 to 2002, when the government and various rebel factions carried out a brutal civil war in which the terrorizing of civilians — by killing, mutilation, rape and forced conscription — was common practice on all sides. The war sent hundreds of thousands of ordinary Sierra Leoneans fleeing to refugee camps in the neighboring West African nation of the Republic of Guinea. That's where the remarkable story told by the new documentary "Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars" began.
Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are a band of six Sierra Leonean musicians who have been living in Guinea. Many of their family and friends were murdered in the violence, leaving them with physical and emotional scars that may never heal. Despite the unimaginable horrors of civil war, they were saved through their music. Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars chronicles the band over three years, from Guinean refugee camps back to war-ravaged Sierra Leone, where they realize the dream of recording their first studio album. And so begins a musical phenomenon that is making the world hear the voices of West Africa's refugees while drawing the accolades of musical superstars Keith Richards, Paul McCartney, Ice Cube (one of the executive producers of the film), and Joe Perry.
As "Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars" so vividly reveals, no amount of Western entertainment glitz could sweep away the pain and terror that gave the band its soul and which, paradoxically, led to buoyant, hopeful and even joyous music. With its own blend of traditional Sierra Leonean goombay, West African high-life, reggae and hip-hop, the All Stars are bonded by the determination to do no less than "take the suffering of the people and make a song of it." In this, there is no distance between them and their subject — the suffering is indelibly their own."
more info: http://www.pbs.org/pov/pov2007/sierraleone/
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