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King Sunny Ade: Nigerian Royalty and Juju Master

One of the fun things about getting into music is learning about genres that are completely foreign (both literally and figuratively) to me.

King Sunny Ade was born into Nigerian royalty. According to Craig Harris’ profile at AllMusic, Ade left school to pursue a career in music. He now is “the undisputed king of juju music” which, according to Harris, is a “hybrid of western pop and traditional African music with roots in the guitar tradition of Nigeria.”

King Sunny Ade plays dance music. His greatest success came in the early 1980s. The full name of his band is King Sunny Ade and His African Beats. It’s unclear if that is a specific band — and, if so, whether it still exists — or just the name given to any group he fronts.

Ade had to cancel a tour this summer due to visa problems. The fault, apparently, was in State Department computers and not specific to Ade.

The song above is “Me Le San” and below is “Maajo.”

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Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.


The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.