Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars
Description: Compared frequently to Wim Wenders's Buena Vista Social Club (1998), the thoughtful and heartfelt documentary Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (2005) combines the musical elements of that earlier work with a distinctly uplifting and optimistic sociopolitical undercurrent. The story begins in the early '90s with the eruption of the civil war that plagued the beleaguered West African nation of Sierra Leone -- displacing thousands in its wake. Among the dispossessed came six young indigenous musicians who decided to form a band and use music to heal the scars of their homeland. Those artists -- Francis Franco Lagba, Alhadji Black Nature Kamara, Reuben Koroma, Efuah Grace, Abdul Rahim Arahim Kamara, and Mohammed Bangura -- form the basis of an extraordinary story told by directors Banker White and Zach Niles in this film. The filmmakers follow the musicians on a heart-rending tour of the Leonean refugee camps, observe the recording session for their debut album, and unflinchingly witness the group's homecoming, several years after a bloody conflict tore the nation in half. Through it all, the group repeatedly demonstrates how music can become a vital instrument for social change.~ Nathan Southern, All Movie Guide
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