You might not have heard of bubu music, but you’re going to want to: It’s “a frantically-paced dance music from Sierra Leone” and its undisputed king is Freetown, Sierra Leone native Janka Nabay. According to his bio, he radicalized bubu in his in the ‘90s, “adding drum machine kicks and twitching synths to its airy hum of blown bamboo shoots and carburetor pipes.” Nabay relocated from Africa to the U.S., settling in Philadelphia where he released his 2010 EP before moving to New York to form his band, The Bubu Gang (Boshra Al-Saadi on vocals, Michael Gallope on keyboards, Jonathan Leland on drums, Jason McMahon on bass and “Sleepy” Doug Shaw on guitar).
New album En Yay Sah is due out Aug. 7. The collaborative new sounds “draw as much from Janka’s own bubu as they do from the sunny energy of Ghanaian highlife, the extended improvisations of 70s Miles Davis, the hypnotic rhythms of classic Afro-beat and the swirling echoes of 60s and 70s psychedelia.” (Watch a video, filmed at South By Southwest this spring, below.)
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang plays Asheville Music Hall on Thursday, June 7. Local Afropop group Zansa opens at 10 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance or $10 at the door. Xpress will give away a pair of tickets on Wednesday, in the noon hour, via Facebook.
Photo by Carly Rabalai.