Arts Desk

One Track Mind: Janka Nabay and The Bubu Gang, En Yay Sah

Standout Track: No. 1, “Feba,” an incessant mixture of tribal percussion and ambient guitars, on which Bubu Gang frontman Janka Nabay sings about an age-old issue in his native Sierra Leone. “In my country, if a son doesn’t look like his father, it causes a lot of problems in the household,” says Nabay, a D.C. resident. “It’s just a reminder that you can have a child that may not look like you, but it’s still your child."

Musical Motivation: Though it tackles a serious topic, the song is danceable. Each track on Nabay’s debut LP, En Yay Sah, is steeped in bubu music, the traditional tune of his people. Nabay recorded “Feba” in Brooklyn, N.Y.; the lyrics had been in his head for a while. It wasn’t supposed to set the tone for his project. “Everybody loved the song,” Nabay recalls. “I never thought it would be the lead song.”

Bubu in the Pocket: While music is Nabay’s first love, he thinks beyond it. The musician works on a food truck to make ends meet, and is considering finishing college before recording his next album. D.C. may be a go-go hub, but he’d like to mix in his brand of bubu music. He’s still humble and fun-loving in the meantime. “I like riding my bike,” he says. “I’m going to the park to beat on some drums with my friends.”

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