Encomiums, garlands for Sunny Ade at 70

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Juju music exponent, “Sunny Ade”, born Sunday Adeniyi, has been described by Chief Ebenezer Obey as one of the most gifted artistes in the world as he turned 70.

Obey told the News of Nigeria, NAN, Wednesday in Lagos that Ade had contributed to the development of the industry in the country.

“On this occasion, I am thanking God for his life and celebrate him as one of the most gifted artists in the country and the world,” Obey said.

In the same vein, Chief Tony Okoroji, Chairman, Copyright Society of Nigeria, COSON, said that Ade inspired him and many people with his wonderful music.

Okoroji added that the veteran musician still looked very fit, even as he turned 70 which he described as an intriguing character for a man of that age.

“King Sunny Ade (KSA) has been two-time president of the Performing Musician Association of Nigeria, PMAN, and has been able to sustain music to a great level in the country. “The king has been a great encouragement to musicians because he has performed before presidents, kings and queens of different countries,” he said.

For Jide Kosoko, a veteran actor, KSA is a father because he had greatly supported his career and encouraged him in the movie industry.

“KSA is my mentor. He has advised me over the years and provided me with materials that have really come in handy in getting me to where I am today,” he said.

Kosoko called on everybody to come and celebrate the icon as he turned 70. Sunny Ade was born to a royal family in Ondo on September 22, 1946. His father was a church organist, while his mother was a trader. He left grammar school in Ondo under the pretence of going to University of Lagos, UNILAG.

In Lagos, his mercurial musical career started. Sunny Ade’s musical sound has evolved from the early days. His career began with Moses Olaiya Federal Rhythm Dandies, a high life band.

He left to form a new band, “The Green Spots”, in 1967. Over the years, for various reasons ranging from changes in his music to business concerns, Sunny Ade’s band changed its name several times, first to African Beats and then to Golden Mercury.

After more than a decade of resounding success in Nigeria, Ade was received to great acclaim in Europe and North America in 1982. The global release of Juju music and its accompanying tour was almost unanimously embraced by critics everywhere.

Ade is described in The New York Times as “one of the world’s great band leaders”, in Record as “a breath of fresh air.” His highly acclaimed album, Syncro System,released in 1983, earned
him his first Grammy Award nomination in the folk/ethnic music category. In 1988, Ade earned a second Grammy Award nomination for his masterful work: “Odu”, a collection of traditional Yoruba songs.

Ade also made his mark in Hollywood in 1983, where his music was featured in the movie “Breathless”, starring Richard Gere. Ade acted in Robert Altman’s 1987 comedy “O.C. and Stiggs”.

He was appointed a visitingprofessor of music at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in 2009.
In July the same year, KSA was inducted into the Afro pop Hall of Fame at the Brooklyn African Festival in the U.S.

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