The World Through Music and Culture

INTERVIEW: Sierra Leone’s Bubu King, Janka Nabay

Janka Nabay performing at Le PoissonRouge in NYC. (Photo by Maria Bakkalapulo)

Janka Nabay, known as the Bubu King (Bubu is a traditional Muslim music from Sierra Leone played on pipes of various sorts by anywhere from 10-20 musicians). He immigrated to Brooklyn from Sierra Leone. In his country, he was a star but once he moved to the US, he had to settle for a much more modest existence. He survived by working at a Pennsylvania fried chicken joint. In recent years, he has started performing again to Sierra Leoneans in America in Baltimore, NYC and Philadelphia. He’s also teamed up with some big names in the indie scene, including rock band the Skeletons and Gang Gang Dance. Maria met up with Janka Nabay in Brooklyn, New York, to find out more.

Follow Maria Bakkalapulo on Twitter @mbakkalapulo

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