Sierra Leone musician Janka Nabay returns with another collection of joyous bubu sounds. His greatest theme remains unchanged: how bubu music makes you dance. Janka Nabay’s path as a pop musician-first in his home country of Sierra Leone in the ’90s and then in the . in the 21st century-has been circuitous to say the least. First discovered in Sierra Leone, he was a big star at home before a long civil war and its brutal aftermath forced him to come to the . in 2003 as an émigré. And while his 2012 Luaka Bop debut, En Yay Sah, introduced Nabay’s bubu -a restless, churning percussive gallop-to fans of world music and eclectic indie alike, work on a follow-up bogged down after a few false starts. The album was abandoned in 2014.
Now playing: Michael Jackson Billie Jean. The Man Feel It Still.
Eventually Janka Nabay's updating of Sierra Leone's bubu beats gets under the skin.
He first earned attention after performing for an audition of SuperSound. Janka Nabay recorded his album in Forensic Studios in Freetown during the Sierra Leonean Civil War. Since moving to Washington, .
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang performing at Bonnaroo festival in 2012. Photograph: FilmMagic. When the civil war ended in 2002, Nabay fled to the US, where he worked in fast-food joints to make ends meet and unsuccessfully tried to start a band between shifts. Nabay’s last album, 2017’s Build Music, made his frenetically entangled beats more pronounced (not unlike South Africa’s Shangaan electro sound); his previous rockier freestyles with his hipster acolytes were swapped for housier, poppier beats, as on the tracks Santa Monica and Stop Jealous. The album also built on Nabay’s themes of migration and displacement. As a conflicted and apparently self-described black cowboy trying to make it as a musician in the US, he wanted to be a spokesperson for his traditional music while updating it for new audiences.
Build Music (LP, Album). Janka Nabay And The Bubu Gang. Build Music (CDr, Album, Promo).
CreditsJanka Nabay - Primary Artist
Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang - Primary Artist