As much fun as the Tiny Desk Concerts series can be, not every show is tailor-made for Friday afternoon. We love quiet guys with guitars, but when you're mere hours from the weekend, you want something a little livelier to get the blood pumping.
As fate would have it, Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars rolled through Washington, D.C., on a Friday afternoon and fit the bill perfectly. The group's story is well-known by now: Its members met in refugee camps during Sierra Leone's civil war and formed a band to spread joy during an otherwise difficult time. The war ended in 2001, but the All Stars were just getting started.
Ten years, two albums and an award-winning documentary later, these eight men are still riding that upbeat reggae groove, the kind made for dancing and little else. When the All Stars started their Tiny Desk Concert with "Jah Come Down," the NPR Music office was about half-full. By the time "Tamagbondorsu" came to an end 20 minutes later, the room was packed with folks dancing in place. Word had spread. It was almost as if Friday night was calling.
- "Jah Come Down"
- "Living Stone"
- "Tamagbondorsu (The Rich Mock The Poor)"
Michael Katzif & Bob Boilen (cameras); edited by Michael Katzif; photo by Abby Verbosky