Concert Review: Sierra Leone All-Stars

The Sierra Leone All-Stars performed an excellent concert near Greenfield on June 25. It was at the Shea Theater in Turner's Falls, Massachusetts. The dance floor was full. The band has recorded several excellent albums. Most of the songs on the albums are Afro-Pop or “high life” style. Some are reggae.

Lead singer Ruben Koroma asked, "Our country, Sierra Leone, is rich in minerals. Why are our people in poverty?"

Between 1991 and 2002, there was a civil war in the west African nation of Sierra Leone. Thousands of people, including the future members of the Sierra Leone All-Stars, left their homes and sought safety in the neighboring nation of Guinea.

The trailer for an award-winning documentary film about the band is at:

www.pbs.org/pov/sierraleone/trailer.php#.Uy2T_IUVfvw

The U.S. and other rich nations have a long history of stealing resources from Africa. This story is told in the books “Bury the Chains” by Adam Hochschild and "Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power" by Steve Coll, and in the film "Lumumba" by Raoul Peck. The average life expectancy in Sierra Leone is 45. In the U.S., it’s 77. The book "Guns, Germs, and Steel" by Jared Diamond explains why the average black person is much poorer than the average white person.

The All-Star’s music is uplifting. It's hard not to dance to it.

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