Janka Nabay, 54, Dies; Carried an African Dance Music Worldwide

Janka Nabay, 54, Dies; Carried an African Dance Music Worldwide Photo Janka Nabay performed in 2017 at a music festival in Rennes, in northwest France. He modernized bubu, a traditional musical style from his native Sierra Leone. Credit Loic Venance/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images Janka Nabay, a singer, songwriter and bandleader from Sierra Leone who modernized an ancient tradition called bubu and carried it worldwide, died on Monday in the Kambia District in northern Sierra Leone. He was 54.
His American record company, Luaka Bop, said the cause was a stomach illness that had not been diagnosed.
During the 1990s, Mr. Nabay took the speedy beat of music that had been heard for centuries in parades and celebrations and transferred it to Western instruments. His songs became hits as civil war tore Sierra Leone apart and were claimed by both sides, although his music increasingly held direct antiwar messages.
Mr. Nabay emigrated from Sierra Leone in 2002. Living in New York City, he s..