Warner/Chappell Music Signs Worldwide Publishing Agreements With Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars

02/22/07
NEW YORK, NY, Feb 22, 2007 -- Warner/Chappell Music, the publishing arm of Warner Music Group Corp. (NYSE: WMG), and one of the world's largest music publishers, today announced a series of worldwide publishing agreements with Reuben Koroma, Ashade Pearce and Francis 'Franco' John Langba, members of the 12-person, critically-acclaimed Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars. Under these agreements, Warner/Chappell will administer new compositions, as well as the catalog of songs by Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' primary writers.

In making the announcement, Ed Pierson, Executive Vice President, Legal & Business Affairs, Warner/Chappell Music, said, "We are extremely proud to be associated with this group of amazing individuals whose remarkable experiences are told so eloquently and passionately through their music. Their lives and music are truly inspirational, and we are thrilled to welcome them to the Warner/Chappell family."

"This is a wonderful, life-changing opportunity for the members of Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars," said the band's manager, Mike Kappus of The Rosebud Agency. "The partnership with Warner/Chappell Music helps the band follow their dream of spreading their music and message around the world while having an immediate and ongoing impact on the lives of the band and their community who truly need the help."

Founded by Reuben Koroma and Franco Langba in 1996, the 12-member band is comprised of a diverse group of Sierra Leonean refugees including a 19-year-old rapper and a 50-year-old rhythm guitar player. Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars' music is a unique blend of traditional West African melodies, reggae, and classic rhythm & blues.

As refugees in their adopted country of Guinea, the group got its start by crafting homemade instruments and playing shows for fellow refugees in camps throughout Guinea and Sierra Leone to deal with the trauma of civil war.

Filmmakers Zach Niles and Banker White featured the group in their 2006 critically-acclaimed documentary, "Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars." The film follows the band over the course of three years as they make their way from the refugee camps back to Sierra Leone.

The group's debut album, "Living Like a Refugee" (Anti/Epitaph Records) was released in 2006 and distributed through WMG's Alternative Distribution Alliance.

In 2006, the band completed tours of the U.S., Canada, Europe, Japan and headlined Summerstage in New York's Central Park. Their song "Ankala" was recently featured in the film "Blood Diamond" set during Sierra Leone's civil war. Most recently, the band performed at the 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

About Warner/Chappell Music

Warner/Chappell Music is WMG's award-winning global music publishing company. The Warner/Chappell Music catalog includes standards such as "Happy Birthday To You," "Rhapsody in Blue," "Winter Wonderland," the songs of Cole Porter and George and Ira Gershwin, as well as the music of Dido, Dr. Dre, Eric Clapton, Green Day, Led Zeppelin, Madonna, Nickelback, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Sheryl Crow, T.I. and others. Warner/Chappell Music is a leader in creating innovative strategies for marketing and promoting its songwriters and their music. The company's extensive catalog makes it a natural first stop for A&R executives and record producers, feature film and television production companies, and others looking to record or license some of the world's greatest music.