Janka Nabay, the Bubu King, Grows in Brooklyn

A Sierra Leone superstar finds a new place to preach his country's musical gospel

Live, Nabay often spends some time addressing the lyrics to "Eh Congo," whose only English words—"John Kennedy"—naturally stick out to American audiences. "It was a provocation," Nabay says, to countrymen too proud to take humanitarian aid. "But John Kennedy was the first to send wheat, flour, clothing." Likewise, he praises the Peace Corps, and the attraction is easy to see. Bubu, coupled with the power of the American dream, becomes limitless.

Self-promotion offers a similar joy. "Bubu is everything to me right now," he gushes. "I'm the first guy that recorded bubu music, and I'm the first person to make people learn about bubu music. I love the music. It's so cool." He giggles.

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