King Sunny Ade @70: ‘I own Baba Sala gratitude for life’
The King of World Beat, Sunday Adegeye popularly known as King Sunny Ade has attributed his global fame in music to his boss and benefactor, legendary dramatist and filmmaker, Chief Moses Adejumo Olaiya famously known as Baba Sala, who, he said, advised him to leave his travelling theatre group and go solo in music. Adejumo, KSA recalled told him his future is bright as a music artiste than as a dramatist, writes BIODUN KUPOLUYI.
“Baba Sala is my boss and he would continue to be my boss for life. I owe him that gratitude for life. I was playing percussion in his band and he was playing guitar and a couple of instruments. I was in charge of the music in the drama section, playing conga. He actually prompted me to go into music with a proviso that I should go and if after nine months, I found it tough, I should come back. He told me, go and try and that if does not work, come back.
As fate would have it, KSA with hundreds of albums to his credit and on record, the first Nigerian artiste to be nominated for the prestigious Grammy Awards twice has never gone back. His popularity has continued to soar and his music career has hundreds of recorded albums, featured in concerts local and international: those are powerful portraits of his artistry.
While his dexterity on guitar has earned him rapturous reception and applause globally, it has made many to refer to him as a guitar wizard. His eclectic, smooth and effortless dance style even at 70 has not seized to amaze his fans.
His mastery of the guitar and dance, he said were self-taught.
He shared his excitement that he has been listed alongside eminent global artistes like the Beatles ’John Lennon and Taylor Swift in the Music Instrument Museum, Phoenix, Arizona.
“My guitar and costume were donated to the Musical Instruments Museum in Arizona about four years ago. I have never seen a museum as big as that with pictures of myself that I have never seen before. The Nigerian Corner is a beehive of visitors. I had the privilege of playing before a huge audience comprising musicologists and musicians. I had the audience to sing along with me.
Speaking further on his last US tour, he said that he could not go on US tour in the last two years due to some technical problems but was able to pull it through this year.
“On arrival, we had to redeem our image before fans and debunk the claim that KSA is dead. The tour was electrifying and it was widely acclaimed.
The tour to 36 states in America, he said was essentially to redeem his name.
“I won’t like to blow my trumpet but as men of the the media, you can find out. Every show we had was a wow.
He was ably supported at the press parley by Adawa Music King, Admiral Dele Abiodun who he referred as his friend of many years. “My relationship with Admiral Dele Abiodun has been that of friendship. Severally, he has stood in for me at events that I could not honour. We have been good friends and colleagues over the years.
He also acknowledged Kunle Opio, a Juju band leader who accompanied him on his last tour to the US.
KSA revealed his staying power throughout the tour of 36 States in America with members of his band, the African Beats. It has been God. It has also been the music we play and the dances. Even in the bus, it’s all fun. The moment we returned to Nigeria, it was straight to Ondo and the following day another function at the Landmark Events in Lagos and later a show in Oyo. I pray for more energy from God and I will answer God if calls me to do music again.
On his N500million copyright suit won against African Songs and its subsidiary, Take Your Choice Records (TYC), he said, he has just been briefed by his lawyers that the company has appealed the judgement.
“The case was won by me and I was awarded the sum of N500million but the next move from what my lawyer said is a notice of appeal. So we are working on that. I look forward to having my master tapes and if it comes with the money, it’s okay.”
The copyright infringement suit was filed by KSA in 1975, and Justice James Tsoho of the Federal High Court in Lagos ordered both companies- African Songs and its subsidiary, Take Your Choice Records, to pay the damages.
Source: E24-7 Mag