Released by Cumbancha and produced by Canadian musician Chris Velan, the album is a tribute – a “musical libation” – to the original band formed in the refugee camps, a celebration of ten years together, and a chance to remember the missed members who have passed away during this time.
On the new album, the group has taken a more acoustic approach than on their last records, experimenting with a variety of vintage guitars and hand percussion to create unexpected sonic qualities. The unplugged style is a return, in a way, to the days in the refugee camps when the band had to make do with whatever instruments they could find or make by hand, and make do without amplification and electronics. The Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have also made a concerted effort to mine the riches of Sierra Leonean folklore, basing their songs on the highlife, maringa and palm wine styles, as well as baskeda and gumbe, the Sierra Leonean relatives of reggae and soukous respectively.
The band embarks on what is shaping up to be a long world tour on April 2014, included a special appearance at the United Nations and performances at the Apollo Theater in New York and Amnesty International’s Human Rights Conference in Chicago.