Thursday, August 23, 2012

Janka Nabay

So this is weird...I'm getting huge (for'd be pathetic anywhere else) numbers of hits for no reason at all. (Except maybe a post on the always popular Ty Segall.)

Hell, let's make hay while the sun shines. Here's a review of the new one from Sierra Leone-via-Brooklyn's Janka Nabay and members of Skeletons, Chairlift and Starring.

Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang
En Yay Sah
(Luaka Bop)

Janka Nabay is the Bubu King, perhaps the world's leading popularizer of a music created for Sierra Leonian witchcraft rituals and adapted, as the country became Islamic, for Ramadan processions. The music is fascinating, a multi-layered, multi-rhythmed texture of percussion, chant, guitar, bass and keyboards, but the story behind it is even more compelling. Nabay got his first break at a Freetown music contest when the judges grew tired of imported reggae and asked if anyone could perform in the local tradition. Nabay could and did and soon became the country's best known interpreter of Bubu, selling tens of thousands of cassette tapes in his native Sierra Leone. He became a big star just as civil war broke out in the 1990s and came under protection of one of Sierra Leone's most vicious warlords, Sam Bockarie. His music became an instrument of war, performed against a background of AK-47s and blood diamonds and mutilation. Soldiers would blast Bubu to draw people out of their homes in captured villages, then kill or take them prisoner.


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