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Janka Nabay’s new video for ‘Sabanoh’

This video for Janka Nabays’s Sabanoh combines the work of three directors working with masking societies in Freetown, Sierra Leone (Wills Glasspiegel from NYC and two other filmmakers from Freetown: Benjamin Dominic and John Illori). The stars of the video are the debil masquerades in Freetown, a little known masquerade tradition that flourishes in the city and throughout Sierra Leone. Like the Mardi Gras Indians in New Orleans, these masks celebrate local cultural power, neighborhood pride, and secret societies. Janka Nabay, who falls asleep on the subway train in the video, first wrote and recorded “Sabanoh” in the mid 90s in Sierra Leone during the Sierra Leone Civil War. This new version was composed in a trans-Atlantic WhatsApp conversation between Nabay in NYC and Lanzo on D Beat, a young producer living in Freetown. “Sabanoh” means “we own here,” and the lyrics are about indigenous pride and peace.

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