I first discovered Janka Nabay, and the bubu genre that he innovated, through Skeleton$ guitarist Jason McMahon, who along with other members of Skeletons, Zs, and Gang Gang Dance make up Nabay’s Bubu Gang in the States. Jason kept reemphasizing that this was hands down the best thing that he was involved with, and after one listen, I shared his enthusiasm. Seemingly inspired by Afrobeat, Nabay’s bubu music seems miles ahead of what a lot of American groups aspire to in their failed attempts to incorporate world music into indie pop structures. In En Yay Sah, Nabay allows his music to breathe with the intricate and rich expanses of the genre’s origins, and settles for no less than elaborate and hyperactive perfection. This means that Nabay can appeal to both the experienced listener as well as the kid who could only compare this to Antibalis or Extra Golden. And thankfully, the Bubu Gang lacks the cultural fetishism of the aforementioned affected acts and is executed with a sincere authenticity that can be heard throughout the record’s intrinsic rhythms.
But even without affect, it’s clear this music doesn’t just spill out unconsciously. These guys are trying, and to put it simply, it sounds difficult. The high speed jams decorated by Nabay’s contemplative melodies and lyrics demonstrate a musical wisdom unseen and unheard to this extent in most contemporary offerings. Highly recommended.
Artist: Janka Nabay & the Bubu Gang
Album: En Yay Sah
Label: Luaka Bop