The age-old musical phenomenon of Bubu music was an artform cultivated by the Tenme people from the Sierra Leone.
This musical medium was filled with the eclectic sounds of metal pipes and bamboo cane flutes. It was during the mid-1990s when the acclaimed Sierra Leonean musician and songwriter Ahmed Janka Nabay stood as an innovator, bringing Bubu music into the indie music world.
"I was actually trying to play reggae music and I was thinking more in reggae style, Nabay said. ''I love Bob Marley and while living in Sierra Leone, I listened to a lot of his songs. I also admire Michael Jackson because he is one of the greatest performers ever. I love the way he has entertained crowds and he has great entertainment skills.''
Today Nabay lives in Washington, D.C., and fronts Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang. Together since 2010, the group has become Nabay's outlet to add a modern twist to Bbubu music.
In addition to Nabay on lead vocals, the Gang includes Boshra AlSaadi, backing vocals; Douglas Shaw, guitar; Michael Gallope, keyboards; Jason McMahon, bass; and Jonathan Leland, percussion.
The band just completed its latest full-length release, "En Yay Sah," which translates to "I'm scared." It's being released Aug. 7 by Luaka Bop, the New York label founded by former Talking Heads frontman David Byrne and home to such acts as Cornershop, Os Mutantes and Nouvelle Vague, along with Byrne's solo albums.
WHO: Janka Nabay and The Bubu Gang and Baker
WHEN: 10 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: Cedar's Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., Youngstown
HOW MUCH: $5.
Nabay believes that "En Yay Sah" is a strong, passionate record.
"The record combines Eastern and Western musical influences. Listeners will hear the sounds of electrical instruments and electrical drums. All those instruments keep the live experience interesting," Nabay said.
It is the group's third release, following "Bubu King" in 2010 and the EP "An Letah" earlier this year.
"My music is growing rapid so far. I am glad, I came to this level with my music. So far everything is wonderful and I love it," Nabay said.
Nabay said that the drumming in West African music is the common root that has influenced Brazillian and Cuban music.
"I love the album, 'En Yay Sah.' The beats on the album are so good. Every time we play the album live, people go nuts," Nabay said.
Enjoying the fruifulness of the present is Nabay's musical philosophy. His music has been a visceral tool that has bridged the sound and the spirit of east and west cultures. Most importantly, it unifies crowds that come to see the band.
"When I was a teenager, I wanted to go to America. Anything that is happening right now is my future. Right now, it's all about the music."