King Sunny Ade

The King of Juju: The Best of Sunny Ade

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A greatest-hits collection of King Sunny Adé's surprisingly large output. For this album, the focus was certainly on the island releases by the juju master, but also taken into account in the planning were the rest of the 110-odd albums he's made within Nigeria. As such, it's somewhat more comprehensive than your average best-of album. The album starts out with the seminal "Synchro System," a piece showcasing his style of music, which goes by the same name; it features talking drums and guitars throughout the band, with careful synth bits thrown in for ornamentation. It moves through a number of other songs from his Western releases (Juju Music, Synchro System, Aura), pausing for a moment in mid-album for a dub remix of an older piece, "Ota Mi Ma Yo Mi." After a few more Western-released songs, there is a nod to "Mo Dupe," a song released near the time of his rise to stardom via Island Records. The album finishes on a highlight taken from Manu Dibango's Waka Afrika album, featuring Manu Dibango, King Sunny Adé, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo performing some combination of Afro-beat and juju on an old Olatunji song, "Jingo." This is Pan-Africanism represented via contemporary music; this is modern juju at its finest. I.K. Dairo may have been the leader of the movement for some time, but King Sunny Adé is the one who modernized the sound. While Masterdisc (his own label) has produced a series of greatest-hits compilations, this one may suit the incoming listener much better, as it holds itself down to one CD of breadth rather than six of depth. Pick it up as a nice intro to modern juju.

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