Music Friday - King Sunny Ade

on May 27, 2011 with 0 comments » |

Starting a new series called "Music Friday" where I will post a few youtube videos of musicians I am enjoying at the current time. Let me start then with my find for April...juju music from the King of juju, King Sunny Ade!
 
It seems King Sunny Ade is sometimes also called the Minister of Enjoyment.. what a perfect nickname! ;-) I think I've heard of him peripherally before April but heard his 2010 album (his first in almost 10 years) on British Airways in April e...nroute to Norway and was hooked. Tracks from the album, Baba Mo Tunde, are not online but it is worth buying to give it a listen.:
The album has received rave reviews; excerpts from some of the reviews are below:
"His new two-disc set features as many grooves and six-string wizardry as any other song in his massive catalog, including his trademark classic, “Synchro System.” Seven songs stretch to nearly two hours, like the improvisational title track, which clocks in at 31 minutes....he ensemble remains focused on rhythmic guitar and percussion workouts, as well as Adé’s sweet, soulful vocals. A 15-minute remix by the steadfast producer King Britt adds a punchy edge to this already excellent album by one of Africa’s greats." - Source

"Juju juggernaut unspools euphoric Afro-minimalism: King Sunny Ade throws a sublime stylistic curveball on his first album in a decade, replacing the rapturous guitar army that once virtually defined his sound with an oceanic network of articulate drums and manly yet melodious harmonies. Immaculately produced by his manager, Andy Frankel (save an innocuous King Britt remix), these seven sprawling cuts range from an eight-minute reduction of Yoruba festival music to the 32-minute title track. Joe Doria's buttery Hammond organ adds yet another lithe layer, notably on the trippy, driving "Baba Loun Sohun Gbolgo."" - Source

" At the start of the 1970s, Ade had been part of juju's ruling triumvirate, along with Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey and Admiral Dele Abiodun. Ade's "synchro system" then sat between Obey's roots focused "miliki system" and Abiodun's pop and funk friendly "adawa system," deftly balancing tradition with futurism to the advantage of both (the African Beats' inclusion of a pedal steel guitarist was one of several strokes of genius). He surged ahead of his rivals internationally in the early 1980s, releasing three albums on Island Records including the masterpiece Synchro System (1983). Dropped by Island, who had hoped for a global juju breakthrough on a par with that of reggae in the previous decade, Ade continued to release albums at a rate on his Sunny Alade label. Since the late 1990s, Ade's recorded output has slowed considerably, and the double-disc Baba Mo Tunde is his first studio recording in ten years.... Ade's return to the recording studio is a landmark event. Let's hope he repeats it again soon. "- Source.
"...his first studio album in ten years, a pristine recording and double CD set that captures a vital musician in his prime with profound respect for the art of the juju jam." - Source

"Baba Mo Tunde seems to draw from aspects of King Sunny’s synchro-style records: the smooth and exhilarating interweave of lead and choral vocals; the insistent hammered-on guitar lines and chordal accents; the layered percussion; the little chunks of funk, pop and highlife dropped here and there into the flow. All this together forms a rich blend of proverbs, pleasure and prayer. The long title track is simply magnificent, its easy groove eventually deepening and intensifying, the call and response vocals and layered percussion reaching perfection, a colloquy of guitar lines finding an almost unbearably right-on entrainment. And King Sunny’s own thick-toned, blues-inflected, and conversational guitar solo is a stunner, carrying echoes of his vintage 1960s explorations with The Green Spots."- Source
 
Note: You can hear a track of the song 'Emi Won N'ile yi O (Sa Jo Ma L'owo L'owo)' from the album at the last link above.
I'll end with one more video from King Sunny Ade from the 70s...
Enjoy!

I was reading a NYT review of a recently published book - the journals of author, Alfred Kazin (comprising journal entries from 1933 to 1998!) and I found this excerpt which really spoke to me as being very representative of the American life.


"Yet the most extraordinary element in all this is something difficult, perhaps hazardous, to express; that is, the terrible and graphic loneliness of the great Americans. Thinking about them composes itself, sooner or later, into a gallery of extraordinary individuals; yet at bottom they have nothing in common but the almost shattering unassailability, the life-stricken I, in each. Each fought his way through life — and through his genius — as if no one had ever fought before. Each one, that is, began afresh - began on his own terms - began in a universe that remained, for all practical purposes, his own...” - from Alfred Kazin's Journals, edited by Richard M. Cook