Alright, confession time. The only songs on my iPod are African with the exception of about five (all of which are from the French singers Raphaël, Noire Désire, and Yelle). It is an understatement to say that I love African music. However, despite how much I love Ghana's Azonto, South Africa's Kwaito, DRC's Soukous, and Nigiera's whatever-you-call-that, it takes a really amazing song to make me drop all that I'm doing and get up and dance the first time I hear it.
For as much as I make fun of Sierra Leonean music (which I only do just because I heard it far too much during my trips to Salone), it is really quite catchy...unfortunately. Your typical Sierra Leonean song that is popular at any given time has a heavy reggae rhythm and highly auto-tuned voices, which is fine for the first couple times listening but not-so-fine all those times afterward.
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, however, make me want to take back all that I ever said to defame Sierra Leonean music. I take it back, I take it all back, I say! I got on my computer today to look for a song to profile and I figured it was time to give Ghana a break from the limelight, so I begrudgingly looked for Sierra Leonean music. I put on the video below expecting to be unimpressed and within 30 seconds I was out of my chair and dancing around my room. Unfortunately I'm not joking at all.
Janka Nabay is the "Bubu King". Bubu music is fast-paced dance music with its origins deep in Sierra Leone. Traditionally, Bubu rhythms were played during Ramadan festivals among the Temne in northern Sierra Leonean. But Janka Nabay did much to revolutionize Bubu music in the 90s. The civil war caused Janka Nabay to flee to the U.S., but the music didn't die. Instead he collaborated with a group of New York musicians to create a cross-cultural collaboration which bridges the gap between traditional Bubu and mainstream music. The result, music that is irresistible to dance to.