Sierra Leone’s Refugee All-Stars, a group of West African musicians whose incredible stories of survival and commitment to peace through music have helped make them an international sensation, will return to the Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Friday, Aug. 20.

The group, who performed a sold-out show at the Strand in 2007, is touring again this summer in support of their latest release, “Rise And Shine.” The concert will being 8 p.m.

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars were introduced to the world in 2006 by a moving film that documented the band’s formation in West African refugee camps during Sierra Leone’s civil war; and the challenges they faced returning to a homeland racked by years of bloody warfare. The resulting studio album, “Living Like A Refugee” (Anti Records 2006), is one of the most acclaimed world music releases of the past few years. It has garnered the band international recognition and leading to musical collaboration’s with groups such as Aerosmith and U2; guest appearances on “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “CNN International,” PBS’s “P.O.V.” series, “CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s “World Café” and MTV; as well as tours worldwide.

Four years later, the Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars continue to be an inspiration and a symbol of the healing power of music by spreading their message of peace and love in a “can’t help but dance” show that fans from all musical backgrounds can enjoy. With a spirited and infectious fusion of traditional West African music, roots reggae and rhythmic traditional folk, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars craft music that transforms and uplifts.

For their follow-up recording, this year’s “Rise And Shine,” the band began recording back home in Freetown, Sierra Leone, then traveled to New Orleans to work with renowned producer Steve Berlin. “Rise & Shine” is a tribute to roots reggae on which the ensemble dabbles in electric backbeats and bombastic horns, with local New Orleans musicians. Much like the band members themselves, the residents of New Orleans know firsthand both the bitterness of exile and the redemptive power of music, and the spirit of the Crescent City permeates the album.

General admission tickets are $25 and are available by calling the Strand at 594-0070 or online at

VillageSoup Art/Entertainment Editor Dagney Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or by e-mail to