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DOWNLOAD: New Janka Nabay
Laurie Tuffrey , August 2nd, 2012 11:44

Track from forthcoming En Yay Sah album; also, listen to Nar London, Nabay's national anthem for Sierra Leone's sole Olympic athlete

Sierra Leonean legend Janka Nabay is releasing a new album, En Yay Sah, on September 10 via David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label.

One of the biggest musical figures in Sierra Leone, this will be Nabay’s first full-length release in the West - listen and download album closer 'Rotin' below:

Nabay started recording after impressing judges at a Sierra Leonean national talent contest by performing traditional bubu music. The judges went on to sponsor a recording session, which led to releases selling tens of thousands.

When the country's decade-long civil war broke out, Nabay used his music to voice protest; however, rebel fighters appropriated his tapes to play as they approached villages to bring people out of their hiding places. Nabay fled to America, initially working in fast food outlets along the east coast and struggling to find willing collaborators for a musical project. Public radio producer Wills Glasspiegel, having found a CD-R of Janka’s work while working on a programme about Sierra Leonean music of the civil war, sought out Nabay in the Bronx; together they began a process of recruiting bandmates for a fledgling band.

First came Boshra Al-Saadi of Saadi on vocals, who was then joined by Jon Leland of Skeletons on drums, with his bandmates Jason McMahon and Michael Gallope subsequently joining on bass and keyboards respectively, with Doug Shaw of Gang Gang Dance on guitar finally completing The Bubu Gang. Over the next two years, the band honed what would become En Yay Sah at clubs and block parties across New York City and Brooklyn.

“All I am about is making history,” says Nabay, adding of his band: "The sounds in my music have been played for hundreds of years, always mixing the new and the old. These guys are taking all the things they have in their heads and what I show them, and they are making new things out of it."

Nabay’s also recently collaborated with Brooklyn-based rapper Pupa Bajah, to produce ‘Nar London’, a national anthem for long-jumper Ola Sesay, the only athlete from Sierra Leone to be competing in the Olympics - have a watch of the video below:

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