KSA: THE JUJU MAESTRO AT 75
By Mayokun Adekoya
Aristotle, one of Plato’s most accomplished pupils, once said, “Excellence is not an act, but a habit.” One of Nigeria’s most accomplished musicians, who coruscate the entertainment industry with excellent habit, whose name is a household that inspires and commands respect across Africa and the world at large is Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye.
Born on September 22, 1946 to a royal family in Oshogbo, Western Nigeria. Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye, also known as King Sunny Ade, was described in The New York Times as “one of the world’s great band leaders”.
Ade, a beloved Nigerian musician, is undisputedly the most popular artist in Nigeria and highly acclaimed as a world artist, appealing to listeners across the world.
His music genre, Juju, is a style of Nigerian popular music, derived from traditional Yoruba percussion.
His love for music made him leave school to Lagos where his eclectic career began.
The king of juju music launched his musical career in the mid 60s, performing with a highlife band, Moses Olaiya’s Federal Rhythm Dandies
He then went ahead to form his own band, the Green Spots, in 1967. For various reasons, Sunny Adé’s band changed its name several times, first to African Beats and then to Golden Mercury.
For over three decades, the musician has blessed his listeners with body of works such as Juju Music (1982), Synchro System (1983), Aura (1984), Sweet Banana (1986), Let Them Say (1987), E Dide (1995), Odu (1998), Seven Degrees North (2000) and many more that are still enjoyed by fans all over the world today.
KSA’s music has also earned him numerous awards locally and internationally. His ‘Synchro System’ album earned a Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording nomination at 26th annual Grammy Awards (1983), a first for a Nigerian artist. In 1998, His ‘Odu’ album was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 41dt Grammy Awards.
Ade is not just a musician but an overall entertainer. He and his African Beats have been featured in three films: Juju Music in 1988, Live at Montreux in 1990, and Roots of Rhythm in 1997.
The charitable musician, in the mid 90s founded the King Sunny Ade Foundation, an organisation that includes a performing arts centre, a state of the art recording studio, and housing for young musicians and performers on a five acre tract donated by the Lagos state government.
Happy birthday to the Juju maestro.