King Sunny Ade's April 14 performance at the Ark is canceled, the Ark announced today.
"Following a tragic car accident on March 26, 2010, which left two of his key band members dead, King Sunny Ade and the African Beat's morale has been devastated," the Ark announcement said. "In an effort to find peace of mind and recover, the band feels there is no way for them to continue with any tour plans either domestically or internationally at this time.
"It is with sad regret and apology that King Sunny Ade respectfully withdraws from his scheduled performance...."
* * *
Music from the African continent has broken through to the American consciousness only intermittently. In 1983, though, it reached a high point with King Sunny Ade's tour of the United States, and I was there when the tour came to Soldier Field, home to the Chicago Bears. You can't hear African music at a venue that size anymore, but I remember the concert well even now. In the way the music filled a vast space with complex interactions, it rivaled an evening with a full-scale symphony orchestra.
King Sunny Ade, bandleader and guitarist, born Sunday Adeniyi and a genuine scion of Yoruba royalty, works in the Nigerian style called juju. It's rooted in traditional Yoruba percussion styles, but over the decades since it first developed it has added many layers to that base. The man Nigerians then called the Minister of Enjoyment took the stage with phalanxes of Yoruba talking drums (pitched drums playing patterns that suggest spoken sentences), singers, dancers, and Western melodic instruments, including such novelties as electronic keyboards and even a country-style pedal steel guitar, introduced to West Africa by American oil workers. For three hours--it would have been much longer at a concert in Africa--everything was in musical or physical motion, with the talking drums starting conversations among themselves, the other instruments, and Ade's speedy electric guitar.
Ade was promoted by the Island record label in the 1980s
Arts and Entertainment reviews and news.>> Blogs