The SXSW 2006 visit by Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars is one of my favorite success stories. Not only did the documentary about the band win the runner-up audience award for music docs and get some renewed distributor interest, but the Web site was a finalist at the SXSW Interactive Festival, and the band came to play a few shows. These SXSW shows quickly yielded a publishing deal (reportedly negotiated on the streets of downtown Austin after a gig), greater exposure, and eventually a U.S. record deal. Good news, courtesy of Paste:
Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars will release their album, Living Like a Refugee, Sept. 26 on Anti Records. The new disc is a companion to the band’s award-winning documentary, The Refugee All Stars, which follows a group of musicians who escape their home of Sierra Leone in West Africa during the 10 year civil war.
The album was recorded from August 2002 to October 2005 while the film was in production. The members of the Refugee All Stars, who range in age from the 42-year-old Reuben M. Koroma to the orphaned teenage rapper Black Nature, united in the Sembayounya Refugee Camp in Guinea, where they went on to make early recordings. After they were able to return back home, the members recorded tracks at Island Studios in Freetown, Sierra Leone.