Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars (2005)—Sierra Leone
From 1991 to 2002 a brutal civil war ravaged the west African country of Sierra Leone, and as a result tens of thousands of people fled to refugee camps in neighboring Guinea. This documentary film tells the stories of six refugees who formed a band and used music, as one of them put it, to "de-traumatize" his displaced people. "I just took all the problems, all the sufferings of our people, and made a song about it." Much of the film shows them making music with lyrics that give witeness to what they suffered — displacement, malnutrition, mutilation, deswtruction of families and villages, and then in the refugee camps "strange dialects, unusual diets, and sleeping on tarps. As one of their songs put it, in the life of a refugee, "today you settle, tomorrow you pack." After seven years in Guinea, the band returned to Sierra Leone with the help of the UNHCR and recored an album, and then later repartriated permanently. Although this film does not cover their later history, the band eventually sang in tours around the world. Just a word of warning: some of the images and interviews about the war are extremely graphic. In English and Krio with English sub-titles.