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by PopMatters Staff

17 Apr 2012


  Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars - Radio Salone by Cumbancha

For a group that emerged from the horrors of the Sierra Leonean civil war, band leader Reuben Koroma and the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars create music that is surprisingly life-affirming and optimistic. Perhaps that’s what has really made them so appealing to audiences worldwide as well as with cynical music critics. The music is simply irresistible and infectious and embraces all that is best in the human spirit. For their third record, the group decamped to Brooklyn to record out of the Dunham Studios with Victor Axelrod (founding member of stellar bands Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, and the Easy Star All-Stars) as producer.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars went for a naturalistic sound using analog recording with mid-‘70s mics and 16-track tape. That lent the process a feel of spontaneity and warmness ideal for these complex tunes, as well as evoking the golden era of Afrobeat. Radio Salone releases April 24th via Cumbancha. You can pre-order now via Amazon.

Frontman Reuben Koroma chats with PopMatters about the album’s creation, the documentary that brought the group world-wide exposure and working with Victor Axelrod…

by PopMatters Staff

16 Apr 2012


 

 

by Cynthia Fuchs

16 Apr 2012


“In 1997, I was fixing a plate of food in the kitchen,” says Master Sgt. Jerry Ensminger, “Getting ready for the evening news.” What he heard on the TV changed everything: a scientific report linked birth defects and childhood cancers to water contamination at Camp Lejeune, where he and his family had lived. “I dropped my plate, right there. I mean, it was like God was saying to me, ‘Here is a glimmer of hope, that you will find your answer.’” Ensminger’s question concerned the death of his nine-year-old daughter, Janey, some 14 years earlier. She’d had leukemia, and throughout her illness and after her passing, he wondered why.

by PopMatters Staff

16 Apr 2012



by Cynthia Fuchs

16 Apr 2012


“Once upon a time,” Marathon Boy begins, “In a faded corner of India, a poor man and a slum-boy captured the hearts and souls of the rural masses.” The fairy tale structure evoked by this phrasing is reinforced by the documentary’s particulars: the child Budhia Singh, born into desperate poverty in a Bhubaneswar slum, is sold by his mother Sukanti to a door peddler, and then to Biranchi Das and his wife Gita, keepers of a judo hall. The boy reveals a talent and a passion for running, which Biranchi encourages and exploits: by the time Budhia is four years old, he has run in some 48 marathons, appeared in a number of commercials, and been celebrated around the nation. Almost immediately, their story takes expected and unexpected turns, triumphs and betrayals that lead eventually to murder.

//Mixed media
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