En Yay Sah
The product of a remarkable cross-cultural collaboration, En Yay Sah finds Sierra Leonean singer and musician Janka Nabay enlisting a cast of talented Brooklyn musicians to cut a series of rambunctiously imaginative songs in the Bubu style. Bubu's relentless rhythms are derived from the pulsing ceremonial music that accompanies the Ramadan festivities of the Temne people of northwest Sierra Leone. Nabay was the first musician to incorporate these sacred rhythms into popular music; as a young man he sold cassette recordings of his harsh, electronic variation of Bubu music throughout Sierra Leone. These recordings made him into a national star, but bloody civil conflict soon forced him to flee to the United States, where he eventually discovered likeminded musicians in the New York underground. Members of local noisemakers Gang Gang Dance, Skeletons, and Starring make up Nabay’s crack backing outfit, and their work on En Yay Sah displays not only a mastery of Bubu's demanding polyrhythms but a willingness to engage African musical forms without becoming beholden to them.