King of Juju

Certain things make up the memory of my childhood, usually weird, insignificant events and people — but one of the major things is the music my mother played on her shiny vinyl records in the living room. The music was often pulsing and often of Fela Kuti, or Jimmy Cliff, or maybe some funky Nigerian highlife. One man in particular, whom I heard at home, or at banquets or parties the African community in my Alabama hometown would hold, was the great King of Juju, King Sunny Ade.

He uses the talking drum, guitars, synthesizers and other random instruments in this melodious blend of poetic lyrics and kinetic rhythms. It’s funny now to see that trendy kid-friendly bands like Vampire Weekend claim inspiration from Ade, whose rousing but utterly traditional songs got everyone up dancing, or at least dancing in their chairs. He’s one of those living legends. Listen to “Samba” below:

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