Cloudy Weather Report Ramallah, Palestine +4°C, Cloudy

Breaking News

Home | Videos |

King Sunny Adé

King Sunny Adé (Sunday Adeniyi, born September 22, 1946) is a popular performer of Yoruba Nigerian Jùjú music, a Pioneer of Modern world music and classed as one of the most influential musicians of all time


Background

Adé was born to a Nigerian royal family in Ondo. His father was a church organist, while his mother was a trader. Adé left grammar school in Ondo under the pretense of going to the University of Lagos. There in Lagos his mercurial musical career started.

Sunny Adé's Musical Sound has evolved from the early days. His career began with Moses Olaiya's Federal Rhythm Dandies, a highlife band. He left to form The Green Spots in 1967. Over the years, for various reasons ranging from changes in his music to business concerns, Sunny Adé's band changed its name several times, first to African Beats and then to Golden Mercury.

Stage performances

In the 1970s and 1980s Sunny embarked on a tour of America and Europe where Adé played to mixed (both Black and White) audiences. His stage act was characterised by dexterous dancing steps and mastery of the guitar. Trey Anastasio, American guitarist, composer and one of his devout followers, once said,

    "If you come to see Sunny Adé live, you must be prepared to groove all night."

When Adé headlined concerts in the United States, The New York Times's Robert Palmer described one of Adé's several concerts in New York in the 1980s one of the most significant pop music events of the decade and Adé as "one of the world's great band leaders". His second album under the cusp of international stardom was Synchro System which attracted many converts of world music and deservedly earned him a Grammy nomination in the folk/ethic music category.

 A fusion of sounds

Sunny Adé's music is characterised by, among other instruments, the Talking drum- an instrument indigenous to his Yoruba roots, the guitar and his peculiar application to juju music, that would easily put him in the same class as guitar musicians like Santana. His music is in the age old tradition of singing poetic lyrics("Ewi" in Yoruba) and praise of dignitaries as well components of "juju" (traditional African belief) called the "Ogede"-"casting a spell". Hence, Adé's music constituents a record of the oral tradition of his people for posterity.

Sunny Adé was the first to introduce the pedal steel guitar to Nigerian pop music. He was the first to introduce the use of synthesizers, clavinet, vibraphone, tenor guitar into the juju music repertoire such as dub and wah-wah guitar licks.

Island Records

After the death of Bob Marley, Island Records began looking for another third world artist to put on its contract, while Fela Kuti had just been signed by Arista Records. Producer Martin Meissonnier introduced King Sunny Adé to Chris Blackwell, leading to the release of Juju Music in 1982. Many music aficionados are quick to point out that Sunny Adé's brand music of Juju could not be ignored by anyone at the time,[6] and they were not surprised that Chris and his crew decided to launch an attack on the world music scene with such a brilliant artist as Adé. Any first timer who listens to Sunny Adé's brand of Juju music will be attracted to the rhythm section. Even today, this seminal recording is often acclaimed as one of the most important records from Africa. Adé gained a wide following with this album and was soon billed as "the African Bob Marley".

Sunny Adé has said in the past that his refusal to allow Island to meddle with his compositions and over-Europeanise and Americanise his music were the reasons why Island then decided to look elsewhere.

Collaborations

Sunny has collaborated with major artists such as Manu Dibango (WAKAFRIKA) and Stevie Wonder (played harmonica in Aura).

Sunny Adé's brief recordings with Island records opened the floodgates for other world music artist like Senegalese Youssou N'Dour, Mali's Salif Keita and a host of others.

Twice Grammy Awards Nominee

1987 comeback

In 1987, Sunny Adé returned to international spotlight when Rykodisc released a live concert he did in Seattle and was given an astonishing embrace by fans across the globe who were eager for another international album release.

He soon employed an American manager, Andrew Frankel, negotiated another three album record deal with the Mesa record label (a Division of Paradise Group) in America. One of these albums was 1998's Odu, a collection of traditional Yoruba songs, with which he was nominated for the second Grammy Award and thus making him the first African to be nominated twice for a Grammy. Apart from being an international musician Sunny Adé is also prominent in his native Nigeria, running multiple companies in several industries, creating a non-profit organization called the King Sunny Adé Foundation, and working with the Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria.

In recent times, hip-hop music appears to be holding sway with the electronic media in Nigeria with massive airplays. Nonetheless, Sunny Adé's musical output has continued to inspire a vast generation of other Nigerian musicians, who believe in the big band musical set up which Sunny Adé and late Fela Kuti are noted for.[9] The musician, Lagbaja is one of the very many musicians Sunny Adé's music has inspired. In 2008, his contributions to world music was recognised; as he was given an award for his outstanding contribution to world music at the Reggae and world music awards held at the Appollo Theater in Harlem, New York.

 Hollywood career

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.

2009 Comeback

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-Nigeria 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 U.S.A. He dedicated the award to the recently deceased Michael Jackson.

Filmography
Film     Role     Year
Breathless     King Sunny Adé (Music)     1983
One More Saturday Night     King Sunny Adé (Music)     1986
O.C. and Stiggs     King Sunny Adé (Music & appearance)     1987

Body of work

Over the years, the number of records released by Sunny Adé—otherwise known as "Minister for Enjoyment" in his homeland, Nigeria—is phenomenal. He averages at least three records a year, which adds up to 123 albums to date.

Discography
For more details on this topic, see King Sunny Adé discography.

Lawsuits and disputes

There are currently disputes about Adeniyi's early catalogue. He has consistently given this as the reason for not re-releasing his early work.

What's next

Tags

King Sunny Adé Yoruba Nigerian Jùjú music music

Related Articles

Africa Worships With Sonnie Badu - Part 2

Re - Live the live experience of Africa Worships with Sonnie Badu.  A night of fresh fire, oil and rain as promised by God's Servant. This

Africa Worships With Sonnie Badu

Re - Live the live experience of Africa Worships with Sonnie Badu.  A night of fresh fire, oil and rain as promised by God's Servant. This

P-Square Performs To 50,000 People In Rwanda And Kenya 3

P-Square shut down Rwanda Friday night, the twin pop stars performed to a sold out 54,000 strong crowd at the Amahoro Stadium in Kigali, Rwanda

Most Read News

View all posts

Most Watched Movies

Never Again 4 - Part 2

Features: Ini Edo, John Dumelo, Rukky Sands, Solomon Akieysi. I call my job survival of the fittest, my friend Meryl calls it prostitution. Looking at

A REASON TO KILL

A REASON TO KILL When Bernie McDonalds, a successful actor survived a heart surgery, little did he know that the heart given to him was still

A MILLION LOVE 2

A MILLION LOVE 2 A MILLION LOVE (A Sequel to ROMANTIC HEART) He is a rich and flamboyant lawyer- yet lonely. Now he gets involved

Final Spirit of Love

Udoka's uncle is careful in selecting who would have his neice's hand in marriage. One after another, he screens young men to find his

More Than Sacrifice

Sequel to Heart of a Saint Features: Mercy Johnson, Kenneth Okonkwo A miracle was what Charles and Chidi hoped for in their marriage; a

Adata - Part 3

Adata One of the most beautifu girls of Anioma goes to wash by the stream unaware of what was to come...From that moment, joy

Stone of Tears 2 - Part 2

Concluding part of Drop of Blood and Mothers Cult.               Starring: Patience Ozokwor, Ngozi Ezeonu, Mike Ezuruonye               How far will a mother go to make children happy to

The King Is Mine

A handsome king who succeeded his father is searching for a bride to fufill the wishes of the gods & his mother but the

Painful Sin

Starring: VAN VICKER, JIM IYKE, OLU JACOBS, MERCY JOHNSON Max is the only son of Chief Dorn, who is a player and a business man. His