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Janka Nabay: 10 Things I Love About Sierra Leone

The king of 'bubu' music, Janka Nabay, tells us his 10 favorite things about his home of Sierra Leone.

In our “10 Things I Love” series we ask our favorite musicians, artists & personalities to tell us what they like the most about their home country.


In this latest installment we talk to Janka Nabay, who became a star in '90s Sierra Leone during the civil war for his innovative, electronic new take on traditional bubu music. Janka's new album, 'Build Music,' is out today on Luaka Bop.

Below, the 'bubu king' tells us his favorite things about Sierra Leone.

Bubu Music

Bubu music is enjoyment music. The trend is Bubu and it’s Bubu music, you know?

My village, Masimora

Masimora is the most superb village in Sierra Leone, it's where I was born and where Bubu music started. Masimora people are nice people!

Lumley Beach

The heights above Lumley beach. Creative Commons photo by Brian Harrington Spier (via Flickr).

Lumley beach is the best beach in West Africa. It's ten miles of white sand, blue waters, no rocks, no mud, and coconut trees on the banks of the beach from end to end! When you’re thirsty, you don’t drink water, you drink coconut water. Whenever I have leisure time I go to Lumley Beach.

 

East End Lions, my favorite soccer team from Freetown

A past East End Lions team.

East End Lions is my only soccer team, my first soccer team. Their colors are red, white and black. That is why until now I wear red, white and black; I inherited these colors from the Eastern Lions. They're part of me.

Palm Wine

Palm wine is my favorite cultural beer. It’s from the tree to the man. We call it God to man because when you tap the palm tree, you get the palm wine coming out of the tree in liquid form. It’s the best beer in general, trust me.

Cassava leaves and rice

Cassava leaves and rice is the staple food of Sierra Leone. Everybody eats it.

People's friendliness

The people of Salone like to encourage strangers. The people smile and they are giving.

The Independence Day Festival

Bubu music takes over the Independence Day Festival. You'll hear someone blowing Bubu flutes, because Bubu is BLOWING [up]. I’m the first person who played Bubu music and all my people, they BLOW Bubu music [up]. Any April 27, when the festival takes place, you'll hear it!

Photo by Sydney Schleiff & Oliver Citrin.

The Ramadan Festival

First of all, I’m a Muslim, and the Ramadan Festival is the first thing that encroached with Bubu music, on the last day when the Ramadan finishes. Now they don’t do that because Islam doesn’t like it when Bubu music plays. They drink, they fornicate, Bubu is a club fornication thing! Bubu music is enjoyment shit! Now they play it on Independence Day.

Kadiatu Nabay

Kadiatu Nabay—my first love, like somebody you like for the first time ever, and you meet and you [go] crazy! I don’t know how we disappeared from each other. We lost communication for a very long time, then we just came to meet again out of the blue! Then we caught fire, like nothing happened! She's over there. I’m over here.

Interview
Photo: Shaughn Cooper

Ras Nebyu Is Washington, D.C.'s 'Uptown Lion Walkin'

We talk to the Ethiopian-American rapper about his new album, his Washington Slizzards crew, and the impact of gentrification on D.C.'s music scene.

Ras Nebyu is caught up in the crowd at Howard University's homecoming tailgate, where he can barely walk a block without shaking hands with another person who he knows. Although he didn't attend Howard University, the campus and the surrounding neighborhood forms as much of a part of his narrative as any student.

The Ethiopian-American rapper hails from uptown Washington, D.C., a neighborhood he uses to inform his latest album, Uptown Lion Walkin, a project that pays homage to his ancestral upbringing, as well as his thoughts on making money, love, happiness, and the government.

There's a twoness to Nebyu's identity that allows him to create from a place of historical-cultural reverence while pushing forward new ideas. He was raised in a Rastafarian household by an Ethiopian dad and African-American mother.

Nebyu doesn't hold much back when he speaks, like his music. He preaches about belonging to his community, gentrification and the diaspora. His work serves as a strong soundboard, for not only his Ethiopian community but D.C. natives.

In 2011, Nebyu co-founded the Washington Slizzards, a collective of Ethiopian creatives in D.C. What started as a joke, tacking on "slizz" to everything, became a buzz-worthy crew. Around the same time as the group's inception, he began releasing music into the world.

Nebyu first ventured into making music as a producer, but soon found it frustrating getting artists to use his beats. He decided to begin experimenting with using his own voice and hasn't slowed down since. OkayAfrica caught up with Nebyu to discuss the new album and growing up uptown.

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Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty, Afro B & Mayorkun Join DJ Neptune On 'Tear Rubber' Remix

Listen to the "All Star Remix" now.

"Tear Rubber," one of the standouts from DJ Neptune's latest album, Greatness, gets a big remix that'll jump start your week.

The track, which originally featured Mayorkun, now gets a massive revisit featuring Mr Eazi, Duncan Mighty and Afro B.

All three are potent additions to this laid-back and addictive Young John-produced track which was already getting a lot of spins.

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Listen to Sade's Beautiful New Song—'The Big Unknown'

Sade has graced us with her second single of the year—this time for Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, "Widows."

We now have two new Sade songs to shed thug tears to before the end of 2018, y'all.

The queen herself released a lyric video for her new track, "The Big Unknown." This single will be played during the end credits of Steve McQueen's highly anticipated film, Widows, which is due to be released in theaters November 16, Highsnobiety reports.

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