We meet musicians at the Sembakounya refugee camp in Guinea, men displaced by civil war in Sierra Leone. Reuben and Franco started the group, called the Refugee All Stars Band. Reuben sings, Franco plays guitar; both write songs. They became refugees in June, 1997, thinking they might be there for six months or a year. Years later, the All Stars have additional members. Reuben, Franco, and Arihim talk about what the band means: entertainment and, as Franco says, a chance to forget a bit. We see adults and children dancing. Written by
Meet some wonder Musicans who struggled as refugees and made it
We just saw this wonderful documentary at the 2006 Jerusalem Film Festival and would recommend it to everyone who has ever heard of West African High Life music and the tragedies of the 11 year civil war in Sierra Leone.
In Guinea, a group of talented Sierra Leonean refugees, constantly relocated from one miserable camp to another, decide to form a band to bring entertainment and a ray of sunshine. They conduct a musical tour of the camps and eventually are asked to perform a cut an album in Sierra Leone as part of the UN resettlement program.
While they are reluctant at first to go home, even for a short stay, they give in when they see that it make be a good economic decision for their musical careers.
The visit to Sierra Leone is both exhilarating and sad for the band members. They are very pleased to see old friends. On the other hand, the realize that serious damage has occurred - to Freetown's building and neighborhoods and also to those who remained behind.
When they return to the refugee camp in Guinea they encourage resettlement back in Sierra Leone. All but one of the band members do resettle.
You will love the music and learn of the hopes, fears and aspirations of these refugees who do become and are today true all stars.
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