Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang
Build Music (Luaka Bop)
Falling somewhere between the seductive grooves of Juju and the upbeat pulse of contemporary South African electrobeat, bubu music is a specialty of U.S.-based Sierra Leonean musician Janka Nabay.
A star in his homeland, the ravages of civil war forced him to bring his frolicking percussive sound to America where it caught the ears of Luaka Bop who released En Yay Sah in 2012 to positive reception.
Following it up was a bit more of an effort as the space between albums shows. But here it is — and the hopeful pump of Santa Monica, with its blend of shimmering guitar, call-and-response vocals and synthesizers mimicking the traditional bamboo pipes and percussion the music would be played on in Sierra Leone, is a perfect entry into the joyous sound.
Underlying the happy vibe is the fact that the song is about an interrogation at the hands of the LAPD, which doesn’t always have a nice outcome. Either way, Nabay seems to be saying that keeping a positive outlook is the best way to battle the forces against progress.