by Peter Aaron
The underlying message of bubu, Nabay maintains, is one of peace, good governance, and the empowerment of women. Although it has traditionally been played using bamboo and metal-pipe flutes and hand percussion, Nabay retooled the music by adapting it for modern electronic instrumentation. His early recordings became the rallying soundtrack for young rebels who were attempting to overthrow the government; this led to his fleeing to America to escape imprisonment. After a few years in Philadelphia, Nabay landed in Brooklyn and formed the Bubu Gang, which recently debuted on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label with En Yay Sah.
Here’s the official video for the En Yah Sah track “Somebody”:
Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang will perform at Mass MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts, on March 11 at 8pm. Tickets are $10 for students, $16 advance, $22 day of, and $28 preferred. For more information, call (413) 662-2111 or visit http://massmoca.org/.