Ahmed Janka Nabay

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Ahmed Janka Nabay (January 5, 1964 – April 2, 2018)[1] was a Sierra Leonean musician and a major figure in Bubu Music, a traditionally Temne music which is played by up to 20 musicians blowing into bamboo pipes of different sizes.[2] He first earned attention after performing for an audition of SuperSound.[3] Janka Nabay recorded his album in Forensic Studios in Freetown during the Sierra Leonean Civil War. Since moving to Washington, D.C. in 2003, Janka Nabay continued to play bubu music, including a performance at the CMJ College Music Marathon in New York in 2009 and 2010. In June 2010, he formed a full band, Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang, with members of four Brooklyn indie rock groups Skeletons, Gang Gang Dance, and Starring.[4] In 2012, Janka's band announced that they had signed a three-album record deal with David Byrne's record label, Luaka Bop.

Janka Nabay was of Mandingo and Temne descent, two of the ethnic groups within Sierra Leone.

It was reported on April 2, 2018 that Janka Nabay had died. Causes of his death remain yet unknown. He was 54 years old. [5]

"Ahmed Janka Nabay, the Sierra Leonian musician renowned for pioneering work in the electronic dance subgenre from his native country called “bubu music,” has died. Representatives from Luaka Bop Records confirmed the news. He was 54. He died of a stomach ailment." [6]


Disarm, Recorded at Island Studio Freetown, Side A: 1) Dis-Arm, 2) Dance to the Bu-Bu 3) Lek You Culture 4) Some Body. Side B: 1) Yay Su Tan Tan, 2) On the Bu-Bu 3) Dance to the Bu-Bu, 4) Dis-Arm
Bubu King, True Panther Sounds, 2010.[7]
An Letah, True Panther Sounds/Luaka Bop, 2012.
En Yay Sah, Luaka Bop, 2012 [8]
Build Music, Luaka Bop, 2017 [9]


  1. ^ Pareles, Jon (April 3, 2018). "Janka Nabay, 54, Dies; Carried an African Dance Music Worldwide". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2018-04-04. Retrieved April 4, 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ BBC, Africa On Your Street.
  3. ^ ""Bubu Music" Pioneer Janka Nabay Has Died". Spin. 2018-04-02. Retrieved 2018-04-03.
  4. ^ New York Times, Music Section: To Be Seen And Heard All Around Town.
  5. ^ OkayPlayer, Janka Nabay Pioneer Sierra Leonean Musician Has Passed Away.
  6. ^ "Janka Nabay Dead at 54". pitchfork.com. Retrieved 2018-04-02.
  7. ^ Dusted Reviews: Janka Nabay.
  8. ^ Pitchfork Reviews: En Yay Sah
  9. ^ The Guardian Reviews: Build Music