KING SUNNY ADE @ 70
KING SUNNY ADE @ 70
King Sunny Ade (Sunday Adeniyi) sometimes also called the Minister of Enjoyment, is a veteran Nigerian musician, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a pioneer of modern world music. He has been classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time. Today is his 70th Birthday so we decided to do a brief biography of the Icon as a show of our appreciation to him for honouring our invitation during the commissioning of this great radio station, Rave 91.7 FM, Osogbo.
He was born in Oshogbo, Nigeria on 22nd day of September 1946, to a Nigerian royal family in Ondo town in the present day Ondo State. He began his musical career when, after dropping out of Grammar School, he drifted to Lagos and joined a highlife band. Inspired by the music of I.K. Dairo, he joined the Rhythm Dandies, led by Moses Olaiya (later known as Baba Sala, Nigeria’s preeminent funny man and a prolific film maker). King Sunny was influenced by the legendary Tunde Nightingale (early Juju pioneer extraordinare) and borrowed stylistic elements from Nightingale’s ‘So wa mbe’ style of juju.
In 1966 he formed his own band, the Green Spots. After a long eight years in which they recorded 12 LPs for the Nigeria-Africa Song label, in 1974 he entered into increasingly annoying contract hassles and a public court case. This experience prompted him into forming his own recording company linked to Decca Records. At this time he changed the name of his band to the African Beats.
King Sunny Ade and The African Beats tour with the typically large African line-up of 20-30 members. They play a spacey, jamming sort of Juju, characterized by tight vocal harmonies, intricate guitar work, backed by traditional talking drums, percussion instruments, and even adding the unusual pedal steel guitar and accordian.
In the 1970s and 1980s Adé embarked on a tour of America and Europe. His stage act was characterised by dexterous dancing steps and mastery of the guitar.
After more than a decade of resounding success in his native Nigeria, Adé was received to great acclaim in Europe and North America in 1982. The global release of Juju Music and its accompanying tour was “almost unanimously embraced by critics (if not consumers) everywhere”. Adé was described in The New York Times’ as “one of the world’s great band leaders”, in Record as “a breath of fresh air, a positive vibration we will feel for some time to come” and in Trouser Press as one of the most captivating and important musical artists anywhere in the world.
In the 1980s Adé embarked on a career in Hollywood. His music was featured in the 1983 film Breathless, starring Richard Gere, and the 1986 comedy One More Saturday Night, and he acted in Robert Altman‘s 1987 comedy O.C. and Stiggs.
At the beginning of another round of tour of the United States and Canada, Sunny Adé, now known as The Chairman in his home country, was appointed a visiting professor of music at the Obafemi Awolowo University Ile-Ife. In July the same year King Sunny Adé was inducted into the Afropop Hall of Fame, at the Brooklyn African Festival in the United States. He dedicated the award to the recently deceased Michael Jackson.
Credits: www.naij.com, www.africanmusic.org