Tonight Sunday 3rd July I will be seeing King Sunny Adé, legend of Nigerian Juju music, live in Central Park. If you are not aware of his music you may want to watch the documentary below. Adé, also known as the Minister of Enjoyment and the African Bob Marley, along with Ebenezer Obey is a pioneer of Juju music from a tradition of the Yoruba people that incorporates the guitar and The Talking drum ” The Talking drum is an hourglass-shaped drum from West Africa, whose pitch can be regulated to mimic the tone and prosody of human speech.”
My first experience of King Sunny Adé was Juju music released in 1982. It seems I was way behind in discovering him, as this was his 71st album. World music became popular in the eighties as African and Asian musicians finally became appreciated for their often innovative music.
Incorporating electric instruments and taking the west by storm using new technology with traditional rhythms, a style of African thumb and finger guitar playing developed. Pedal steel, synthesizers, vibraphone all add to this intriguing music and you can listen to a track from Adé’s breakthrough western album below. Interestingly when I listen to Holger Czukay, the bassist and sound manipulator from CAN – I hear King Sunny Adé.