Arts Desk

Janka Nabay’s Olympic Anthem

D.C.-based Sierra Leonean vocalist Janka Nabay, who will appear with his band the Bubu Gang at the Kennedy Center tonight, shows his Olympics spirit and homeland pride in a new song and video called “Nar London.”

Joined by Brooklyn-based Sierra Leonean rapper Pupa Bajah, Nabay pays tribute to one of Sierra Leone’s two 2012 Olympic participants, long jumper Ola Sesay. The track mixes Janka’s deep-voiced croak, Bubu Gang vocalist Boshra AlSaadi’s sing-song melodic timbre, and Pupa’s speedy flow over bouncy, programmed Sierra Leonean bubu rhythms. There’s nothing too fancy about the lyrics, which pair the chorus—“Summer Olympic Games 2012, Nar London”—with Sierra Leonean Krio phrasing, a soccer chant, and English-language rapping, but it’s a catchy tune. The video includes footage Sesay shot at the Olympic training grounds in London, plus a hodge-podge of long jumpers, lions, Sesay action shots, and Nabay and the Bubu Gang. Sesay begins competing tomorrow, which is also when Luaka Bop releases Nabay and the Bubu Gang’s debut album, En Yay Sah.

Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang perform tonight for free from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage.

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