Chadwick Stokes with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars


I’m a big fan of Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and was able to see them play live a handful of times when I lived in Boulder. I recently came across a song they did with Chadwick Stokes called Coffee and Wine and I can’t get it out of my head.

Here’s the song:

A little background about the Refugee All Stars (source):

Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have risen like a phoenix out of the ashes of war and inflamed the passions of fans across the globe with their uplifting songs of hope, faith and joy. The band is a potent example of the redeeming power of music and the ability of the human spirit to persevere through unimaginable hardship and emerge with optimism intact. From their humble beginnings in West African refugee camps Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars have performed on some of the world’s most prestigious stages and matured into one of Africa’s top touring and recording bands.

Throughout the 1990s, the West African country of Sierra Leone was wracked with a bloody, horrifying war that forced millions to flee their homes. The musicians that would eventually form Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars are all originally from Freetown, and they were forced to leave the capital city at various times after violent rebel attacks. Most of those that left the country made their way into neighboring Guinea, some ending up in refugee camps and others struggling to fend for themselves in the capital city of Conakry.

Ruben Koroma and his wife Grace had left Sierra Leone in 1997 and found themselves in the Kalia refugee camp near the border with Sierra Leone. When it became clear they would not be heading back to their homeland anytime soon, they joined up with guitarist Francis John Langba (aka Franco), and bassist Idrissa Bangura (aka Mallam), other musicians in the camp whom they had known before the war, to entertain their fellow refugees. After a Canadian relief agency donated two beat up electric guitars, a single microphone and a meager sound system, Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars were born. [Read more...]

Here’s a clip from the 2005 documentary on the All Stars:

Here’s a little behind-the-scenes clip:


Behind The Scenes: Writing the 2012 State of the Union Address


I’m a big fan of The West Wing, but it’s cool to see what really goes on behind-the-scenes when Toby Ziegler and Sam Seaborn aren’t involved.

The White House has posted a behind-the-scenes look at the process of writing President Obama’s 2012 State of the Union address.

via Laughing Squid