Audio

Exclusive: Five Free Songs From Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars


The story of Sierra Leone's Refugee All-Stars has been oft told through the global dispersal of their music, as well as in a 2005 documentary chronicling the group's formation during their time at a Guinean refugee camp. At the nucleus of the All-Stars is a gang of musicians that, in seeking a form escapism and entertainment for their fellow refugees, found a way to relate their nation's civil war to the world.

On their third album Radio Salone, the Refugee All-Stars expand on their eclectic mix of West African sounds. Speaking with the Boston Globe, bandleader Reuben Koroma explained the new full-lenght's concept through its title:

“Radio was a great inspiration to our experience,” Koroma says. “Since we were kids, we listened to soukous, highlife, funk, and soul on the radio. So when we were making the record we wanted it to feel like this variety.”

The second part of the title, “Salone,” is the local contracted form of the country’s name. Koroma says the album portrays Sierra Leone and the hybrid culture it has had for over 200 years. In the late 18th and 19th centuries Freetown was a destination — giving the city its name — for repatriated slaves and others liberated from slavers intercepted on the high seas. They came from all over Africa, but became Sierra Leonean. (Boston Globe)

As an Okayafrica exclusive, we've been given five tracks off Radio Salone to give away. For a limit of 3 days, you can download "Mother In Law," Gbara Case," "Man Mayu," Big Fat Dog," and "Work It Brighter" below! As an added bonus, if you buy Radio Salone in digital/hard copy from the Cumbancha store you'll receive a free digital/hard copy of 2010's chart-topping Rise & Shine LP!

Buy Radio Salone and grab the free tunes below!

Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars - Radio Salone [OkayAfrica Free Sampler] by Cumbancha

Interview

Interview: Terri Is Stepping Out of the Shadows

We talk to the Wizkid-signed artist about the story behind the massive hit "Soco" and his latest Afro Series EP.

Certain afrobeats songs have made in-roads in international markets and paved the way for the genre's ceaselessly-rising widespread recognition. Among these history-defining songs were D'banj's "Oliver Twist," Tekno's "Pana," Davido's "If" & "Fall," Runtown's "Mad Over You," and of course, Wizkid's "Soco." Wizkid released "Soco" under his label imprint, Starboy Entertainment in March 2018, and the song spread like wildfire across Africa and beyond. "Soco" was an Afro-pop wonder delivered at a time when the 'afrobeats to the world' movement was gathering steam, further cementing its electric nature. The Northboi-produced song was co-signed by celebrities across the world like Rihanna, Cardi B, and Paul Pogba and has accrued well over a hundred million streams across streaming platforms worldwide.

"Soco" was not only a trailblazer amongst mid-2010s afrobeats records, it was also the introduction of the first Wizkid-signed artist, Terri. Just weeks before "Soco" was released, Terri was discovered by Wizkid's longtime producer, Mutay, who saw him covering the song "Oshe" on social media.

Before "Soco," Terri Akewe was well on his way to fame. At fifteen, he had performed at street carnivals in his neighbourhood and, one time, was carried all the way home by neighbours after winning a Coca-Cola sponsored singing competition. Before his life-changing meeting with Wizkid, Terri had a seven-track EP ready for release, as well as a viral song titled "Voices." "One time I was on set with the video director T.G Omori, he told me that 'Voices' was the first time he heard of me" Terri tells me as we settle on a plush couch at his home in Lagos.

Regardless of Terri's initial career trajectory; signing to a label headed by afrobeats' biggest superstar was bound to accelerate his musical journey, and at the same time, cast a huge shadow of expectation on his career, especially given a debut as spectacular as "Soco." With his latest EP, Afro Series, powered by the sensational single "Ojoro," one thing is clear: Terri is stepping out of the shadows into his own spotlight and he is doing it on his own terms.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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