BUBU IS THE MESSAGE This is a short selection from an interview I did with Janka Nabay in 2008. He is considered to be the “bubu king,” named after the style of music that made him famous, “bubu”. Nabay was a pop star in Sierra Leone in the 90s, and today plays in the US with a group of Brooklyn musicians, the Bubu Gang. During the Sierra Leone Civil War, Nabay’s bubu was equated with national culture and with the land. “We own here,” he sang. It was a call for peace and a message to the rebels who used Nabay’s music as their battle trance. They blasted his tapes through sound systems and sniffed brown-brown before committing atrocities. Nabay responded with songs they couldn’t as easily appropriate, songs of peace.
Hear Sabanoh (the cassette album) via FADER Magazine here.