Janka Nabay, Awesome Tapes from Africa

Janka Nabay

"We speak one language now," says Sierra Leonian singer Janka Nabay of the band he calls the "Bubu Gang," an eclectic group of New York-based musicians who fell in love with Janka's frenetic "bubu" dance music in 2010 following Janka's American debut on True Panther Sounds. In the year and a half since their first show, the band has started infusing bubu music with a broader range of stylistic influences, and Janka has evolved into an inspired band-leader and MC in the tradition of James Brown and Fela Kuti. The new sounds draw as much from Janka's indigenous bubu as they do from the sunny energy of Ghanaian highlife, the extended improvisations of 70s Miles Davis, the hypnotic rhythms of classic Afro-beat and the swirling shredding guitars of 60s and 70s psychedelia.

Awesome Tapes from Africa

Since 2006, Brian Shimkovitz's Awesome Tapes From Africa blog has been shedding light on obscure and wonderful sounds from across the continent. As a DJ he brings the blog to life with sets blending folkloric pop, left-field dancefloor gems and hip-hop bangers he's collected on African marketplace finds. HIs DJ sets on twin tape decks explore deep, regional sounds using analog-anchored agility not heard/seen anywhere else.

In 2011 ATFA developed into a critically acclaimed vinyl label, re-releasing records by African artists including Bola, Dur-Dur Band, Hailu Mergia and Penny Penny. The label plays an essential role in furthering Brian's mission to build an international audience for African music through touring and re-issues.

Signed to Kingdom's Fade To Mind imprint, Brooklyn-based producer Rizzla was a fixture of Boston's alternative nightlife scene before relocating to New York, throwing the applauded "post-queer dance party" Nu Life and creating the KUNQ artist collective. Combining cutting-edge global sounds with the discursive rigor of art history and critical theory, Rizzla's euphoric performances connect contemporary Caribbean music with the sounds of NYC's infamous warehouse raves.

As an undergraduate, Rizzla studied at UWI Trinidad with playwright and filmmaker Tony Hall, and completed postgraduate work at Brandeis University, examining the critical intersections of postcolonial studies, art history, and nightlife culture. His unique trajectory and sound made him a regular at Venus X's trendsetting NYC fete GHE20 GOTH1K.

Rizzla has performed internationally at numerous clubs and institutions such as MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum, ICA Boston, The Suzanne Geiss Company, and the Wadsworth Atheneum. He collaborated several times with DIS Magazine and Opening Ceremony, and has been featured in ArtForum, Fader, Fact Magazine, XLR8R, The Boston Phoenix, among others.

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