King Sunny Ade: the 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

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    King Sunny Ade: the 100 most inspiring musicians of all time

    Nigerian popular musician Sunday Adeniyi, popularly known as King Sunny Ade, (b. Sept. 1, 1946, Oshogbo, Nigeria) was in the vanguard of
    the development and international popularization of juju music —a fusion of traditional Yoruba vocal forms and percussion with Western rock and roll.

    King Sunny Ade enjoyed noble status not only through birth into the Yoruba royalty of southwestern Nigeria but also through popular acclaim as the “King of Juju” since the late 1970s. In his youth, Ade played highlife, a type of urban dance music that emerged in Ghana in the late 19th century and blended elements of church music, military brass-band music, sea shanties, and various local African traditions. In the mid-1960s Ade abandoned highlife for juju, a related musical genre that arose in Nigeria in the 1920s as an expression of the urban Yoruba working class.

    King Sunny Ade sheet music partitura

    He assembled his own juju band, the Green Spots, which he later renamed the African Beats, reflecting the re-Africanization of the genre that had been occurring since the early 1950s in conjunction with a growing sense of nationalism.

    Prior to Ade’s formation of the African Beats, one of his most notable predecessors, I.K. Dairo, had already modified juju through incorporation of Yoruba “talking” drums—which replicate the tones of Yoruba language— and through extensive use of the call-and-response vocal
    structure that is typical of the traditional music of many sub-Saharan African peoples, including the Yoruba.

    Upon this musical foundation, Ade laid a tapestry of guitar voices infused with the rhythmic and melodic colours of rock and roll. Ade’s early albums with the African Beats, most notably Sound Vibration (1977) and The Royal Sound (1979), were tremendously successful, and, when the press declared Ade the King of Juju in 1977, the title became integral to his professional persona.

    In the early 1980s Ade signed with Island Records, and the release of Juju Music (1982) propelled him, his band, and juju into the international limelight. Ade’s next album with Island, the synthesizer-enriched Synchro System (1983), drew an even more thunderous response and prompted a
    surge in international bookings.

    By the mid-1980s, Ade had exposed much of the non-African world to Nigerian juju. After his separation from Island in 1985, Ade focused his musical activity at home, at which time he also began to shift the topics of his lyrics from the ills of Nigerian society to more-intimate matters of personal struggle.

    Although he maintained a tight schedule of recording and performances in Nigeria, he continued to make intermittent appearances abroad on the rapidly expanding world music concert and festival circuit, where both he
    and juju music continued to enjoy a strong following.

    King Sunny Ade – The Best Of The Classic Years 1969 -1974

    King Sunny Ade – The Best Of The Classic Years 1969 -1974

    Synchro System 00:00 Mo Gbe De 12:53 Ibanuje Mon Iwon 18:13 Ogun Party Part 1 (Ogun Lakaaye) 32:11 Sunny Ti De Bombibele Horojo Oro Towo Baseti Ko Salapata Adena Ike Afai Bowon

    King Sunny Adé’s The Best of the Classic Years brings back a lot of memories, especially for people who were born or growing up in the 70s and 80s.. It was released by Shanachie in 2003. The album showcases Adé’s rawer pre-Island Records sound. This classic compiles material recorded between 1969 and 1974 for the Nigerian market. The 1974 hit “Synchro System” was later re-recorded by Adé for his 1983 album of the same name.

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    King Sunny Ade & His African Beats – Dance Medley (Live on KEXP)

    King Sunny Ade & His African Beats perform live at the Triple Door in Seattle as part of the 25th anniversary of The Best Ambiance on KEXP. Recorded 6/29/09.

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