Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang have released “Feba,” the first single from their debut En Yay Sah LP, scheduled for an August 7 release with Luaka Bop (Tom Zé, Javelin, Delicate Steve). The band performed at SXSW ’12 and will play summer dates in support of the album, including their live debut at Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival this June.
Hailing from Sierra Leone, Ahmed Janka Nabay single-handedly radicalized bubu within the country, a frantically-paced electronic dance music with ancient, magical origins. Before Janka, Sierra Leoneans thought of bubu music as a relic of the past, something best left in the hills with the folk singers and witches. In the mid 90s, during the Sierra Leonean civil war, Janka resuscitated and modernized bubu, adding drum machine kicks, and twitching synths to its airy hum of blown bamboo shoots and carburetor pipes. He relocated to Philadelphia after escaping the civil war, and after a decade off the musical radar, he released the well-received Bubu King EP in 2010.
The EP caught the well-tuned ears of the mostly Brooklyn-based players who would eventually make up the Bubu Gang, namely Doug Shaw (Gang Gang Dance, Highlife, White Magic), Jason McMahon & Jonathan Leland (Skeletons), Michael Gallope (Starring) and vocalist Boshra Al-Saadi. Together, they released the acclaimed An Letah EP, earlier this year with True Panther Sounds. Pitchfork gave the EP a 7.8 review raving, “to call Ahmed Janka Nabay the ‘King of Bubu’ is neither PR one-sheet parlance nor excitable music critic hyperbole…Nabay has taken bubu before the all-important hipster demographic in Brooklyn, where they too have crowned him king.” A series of sweatbox US shows followed, and all involved realized they had birthed something beyond the sum of its parts: “We speak one language now,” says Janka of these exciting new sounds, that draw as much from Janka’s own bubu as they do from the sunny energy of Ghanaian highlife, the extended improvisations of 70s Miles Davis, the hypnotic rhythms of classic Afro-beat, and the swirling echoes of 60s and 70s psychedelia.
Janka Nabay & The Bubu Gang in Concert
6/9 – Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival
6/10 – Brooklyn, NY – Fort Greene Park*
7/14 – Los Angeles, CA – The Getty
*w/ Lee Fields & The Expressions
En Yay Sah Track Listing
2. Eh Mane Ah
3. Tay Su Tan-Tan
4. Ro Lungi
5. En Yay Sah
6. Kill Me With Bongo