The King Won’t Quit

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Juju legend, King Sunday Ishola Adegeye, KSA, marks his 60th birthday and 40 years as a performing artiste, with a promise never to quit singing

The name Sunday Adeniyi Ishola Adegeye may prompt the question: who is he? But mention King Sunny Ade and the interest of any genuine Juju lover would be stimulated. That is hardly unexpected, given the Ondo-born musician's dominance of juju music. For the same reason, millions of his fans across the world would shudder to contemplate his retirement. But they have no need to worry, since the King of World Beat, as KSA is affectionately called, has declared he has no plan to retire now or in the near future.

King Sunny Ade, who turned 60 on 22 September, gave the assurance while reacting to enquiries by TheNEWS regarding his plans for retirement. “What will I be doing?“As long as Uncle Fatai Rolling Dollar is still playing music at his age, I won't stop at all. Music is in my blood and I cannot afford to just let go of it,” he said emphatically.
As a young child who never liked songs, King Sunny Ade grew up to become one of Nigeria's biggest music icons. The revolution, TheNEWS learnt, was as a result of what he described as the Kurubata Kurubata- an allusion to the pulsating rhythms of the Cherubim and Seraphim religious movement, to which his mother belongs. KSA disclosed that he looked forward to each Sunday service in those days, as the period provided him ample opportunities to dance endlessly to the rhythms. In no time, he began to learn to play various musical instruments, which helped him to rise to the top in music.

Meanwhile, preparations are in top gear to celebrate King Sunny Ade for his unparallelled role in revolutionising Juju music. Among other arrangements, a biography is already in its final phase of completion. The book, which chronicles his early days as a young musician, through trying moments, to the period he finally became a major force in internationalising the Nigerian indigenous music, is expected to provide answers to many puzzles about the legendary musician. Born on 22 September 1946, King Sunny Ade started music at the age of 15.

Through thick and thin, he struggled to find his footing in a field already saturated by bigger names and bands. But through a resolve to succeed and a desire to reinvent himself, it did not take him too long to serve notice to the music world that he was destined for the top. Coincidentally, he is celebrating 45 years on stage as a musician and another 40 as band leader.