On the surface, the intricate dance suites of Nigerian juju vocalist and guitarist "King" Sunny Ade` simply wed African percussion, call-and-response singing and western-style arrangements of guitars and synthesizers. But, often, the roles of guitarists and percussionists were swapped, as the latter drove the melody and the former drove the rhythm. The production emphasized the techniques of Jamaican dub, and sonic details often harked back to other ethnic traditions, such as the twang of country music.
After founding the Green Spots, renamed the African Beats in 1974, Ade`
released a slew of singles in 1967 and 1968.
His first album,
Alanu Loluwa (1967),
was followed by many more, mostly
of poor quality, such as
Sound Vibration (1977),
Chapter 3 (1978),
Private Line (1978),
The Golden Mercury of Africa (1978),
The Royal Sound (1979),
Searching for My Love (1979),
Ori Mi Ja Fun Mi (1980),
Eje Nlogba (1980),
Juju Music of the 1980s (1981).
Ade`'s stylistic mixture reached maturity on
The Message (1981),
Check E (1981) and
Juju Music (1982), while
Ariya Special (1981),
Maa Jo (1982),
Ijinle Odu (1982),
Synchro System (1982) and
Aura (1983), with Ase,
emphasized the rhythmic element.
Ajoo (1983), with Gbeyo Gbeyo, and
Bobby (1983), containing the suite Late Olabinjo Bobby Benson,
were the last two significant albums, after which
he released an impressive amount of garbage:
Sweet Banana (1986),
My Dear (1986),
Let Them Say (1986),
The Child (1988),
The Good Shepherd (1988),
Wait for Me (1989),
Get Up (1990),
E Dide (1995),
Seven Degrees North (2000),
Very few musicians have released so many records that sound exactly
like the previous one. A total lack of imagination makes him the
most over-rated musician of Afro-pop.
Ogun (1997) is an anthology of early recordings.
Odu (1998) collects revised version of his classics.
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