Last Friday, we ventured out on a snowy eventing to attend a wonderful benefit concert starring Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars. I had never heard of them before, but my boyfriend is a big fan. All the profits from the night went to support organizations (Africa Yes!, The Village Medical Project, and The Foundation for West Africa) that are working on the ground right now to fight the spread of Ebola.
There were a few speakers before the show began, explaining the work of these different groups and the importance of people supporting Ebola education efforts. Apparently since this outbreak began, radio has become even more important in West Africa. there are various campaigns and programs that play that explain how to avoid Ebola, but there are also programs to teach children lessons since schools have been shut down since this whole virus began to spread.
The Refugee All Stars were so great. Both their energy and their music had the whole crowd of around 500 people unable to sit still. Their music is definitely influenced by West Africa, but with a modern edge. There were the expected hand drums, but also an amplified guitar, bass, and even a marimba! You can listen to their music here if you’d like a taste, or watch the video from NPR below.
The Dublin School was a sponsor of the event, and they must have bought tickets for all their students because there were so many high schoolers there. The students started dancing on the floor in front of the stage, but were stopped by someone from the theatre. Then, the band invited everyone who wanted to dance onto the stage. I’ve never heard of that before- a band having something like 60 people up there with them. Eventually, the theatre relented, and people were allowed to dance again.
The last song of the night had everyone clapping and dancing along. It was an African Dance party in the middle of snowy New Hampshire. They have another concert, benefiting Doctors Without Borders this time, in Brooklyn on Dec 20th. It’s a great show and for a wonderful cause.