Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang is the alchemy of the Sierra Leone singer’s ancient tribal Bubu music with a throbbing pulse provided by a band that includes past members of Gang Gang Dance, Skeletons and Starring. It’s utterly unique. Drawing from the sunny energy of Ghanaian highlife, the extended improvisations of 70s electric Miles Davis, the hypnotic rhythms of classic Afro-beat, and the swirling echoes of 60s and 70s psychedelia.
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. Being a national star and accustomed to playing before sold out football stadiums, he escaped the civil war and relocated to Philadelphia. After a decade off the musical radar, he released the well-received Bubu King EP in 2010 on True Panther Sounds, and performed with the newly formed Bubu Gang in clubs throughout Brooklyn and NYC. In May 2012, En Yay Sah’s fi rst single, Feba, was premiered by Pitchfork and then quickly spread across the blogosphere.