Press Clipping
03/23/2017
Article
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang: Build Music review – strange but compelling

Janka Nabay’s songs are an edgy blend of ancient African styles and modern technology that reflect his own uneven career. In the 90s, he became a star in Sierra Leone by recording cassettes of updated bubu music, reworking traditional songs that were used in Islamic ceremonies by using keyboards, drum machines and multitracking. He fled to the US at the end of the civil war and worked in a fried chicken restaurant before reviving his career with help from David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. His new album was constructed in the studio by using field recordings and backing tracks sent from Africa, along with keyboards imitating the sounds of horns and flutes, layers of shuffling percussion, sturdy bass lines and chanting vocals. It’s a strange but compelling set, with reworked bubu favourites such as Angbolieh matched against English-language songs including Santa Monica and occasional Caribbean vocal influences.