King Sunny Ade & Prince Obi Osadebe Tour North America

King Sunny Ade
King Sunny Ade

King Sunny Ade has never toured North America like this before. As one of the earlier “world music” performers to reach the global stage, Nigeria’s most famous juju musician has enjoyed a long career on these shores. But never has he attempted to tour African-style, where concert-goers can practice the tradition of “spraying”—a form of arts patronage in which audience members simultaneously offer money to the performer while themselves receiving recognition in the form of “praise singing.” Until now.

This select city tour that will reach Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Chicago and more, started when a group of Nigerian-born doctors decided to fly King Sunny to America to perform at a joint 40-year old birthday celebration. But when you go to the trouble to book one of Africa’s most successful musicians and full band, you might as well tour them too. Back home, Ade is known as the “Minister of Enjoyment” insuring delight for Nigerians at home and abroad, and is famous for his message of love and celebration.

Furthermore, highlife performer Prince Obi Osadebe will join Ade on stage, which
will be another first. Never before have such high level Yoruba and Igbo musicians performed together, not only in America, but also in Nigeria. Osadebe is the son of Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, the only Nigerian ever to go Platinum in Nigeria. Though the Yoruba and Igbo fought civil wars in the past, they both share a strong reputation for their contributions to traditional and popular culture in Nigeria and maintain strong traditions of praise singing. So not only will Nigerians and Americans get to mingle on this rare occasion, so will Yoruba and Igbo get to share the stage as praise singers and patrons alike.

In Nigeria, parties occur at naming ceremonies, weddings, or business launches. The tradition of praise singing gives musicians a chance to make a living and patrons to gain public recognition. The praise-singer will call on stage community leaders, elders, politicians, and party hosts to literally sing their praises. The singer draws upon diverse and complex knowledge about family names and reputations, historic poetry and epic tales, and geography and regional folklore to create relevant stories or admiration that honor the addressee.

The recipient of the praise responds in kind by “spraying” the singer with cash—which can take the form of pasting dollar bills on the singer’s sweaty forehead, showering the singer with money, or other ways of demonstrating gratitude for the praise. In fact, the method of spraying has itself taken on an art form, with some sprayers having a reputation for their particular style of spraying. And the longer you stick money on the singer, the longer the audience is focused on giving you attention—a sort of African form of advertising, marketing, and networking. But once your money runs out, you must make room for the next patron.

Americans and Canadians can get a taste of this tradition along with the best in juju—a style that emerged in ramshackle palm wine halls a century ago—and highlife, which materialized in 1950s Ghana as an amalgamation of British police brass bands,
imported Cuban rumba, and local vocal and drum styles. And they can find out why
President Bill Clinton appreciated “the musical genius of King Sunny Ade” by
dancing on stage with him and why Phish’s Trey Anastasio said, “If you go to see
King Sunny, you know you’re going to dance all night long

King Sunny Ade North
American Tour Schedule:

03/18/2005, Fri
Atlanta, GA

Earthlink Live,
1374 W. Peachtree St.
Tix: $30.00,
Doors Open: 9 pm,
Show: 10 pm

03/23/2005, Wed
Asheville, NC

The Orange Peel,
101 Biltmore Avenue
Tix: $22.50-25.00,
Doors Open: 7:30 pm,
Show: 8:30 pm

03/24/2005, Thu
Carborro, NC

Cat’s Cradle,
300 E Main St.
Tix: $17.00-20.00,
Doors Open: 7 pm,
Show: 8 pm

03/25/2005, Fri
Washington, DC

The Lincoln Theatre,
1215 U Street NW
Tix: $30.00,
Doors Open: 9 pm,
Show: 10 pm

03/26/2005, Sat
Philadelphia, PA

The Ledgendary
Blue Horizon
, 1314
N. Broad St.
Tix: $30.00,
Doors Open: 9pm,
Show: 10 pm

03/31/2005, Thu
Toronto, ON


Guvernment Koolhaus,
132 Queens Quay East
Tix: $22.50,
Show: TBD

04/02/2005, Sat
Detroit, MI

Fountain Ballroom @ The
, 500
Tempole Avenue
Tix: $27.50,
Doors Open: 9 pm,
Show: 10 pm

04/08/2005, Fri
Madison, WI

Luther’s Blues,
1401 University Ave.
Tix: $15.00,
Show: 7:30 pm

04/09/2005, Sat
Chicago, IL

The Vic Theater,
3145 North Sheffield
Tix: $30.00,
Doors Open: 9 pm,
Show: 10 pm

04/10/2005, Sun
Minneapolis, MN

The Cabooze,
917 Cedar Ave.
Tix: $17.00-20.00,
Show: 9:30 pm

04/21/2005, Thu
Santa Cruz, CA

The Catalyst,
1011 Pacific Ave.
Tix: $18.00-22.00,
Show: TBD

04/22/2005, Fri
San Francisco, CA

The Fillmore,
1805 Geary Blvd.
Tix: $22.50,
Doors Open: 7 pm,
Show: 8 pm

04/23/2005, Sat
Los Angeles, CA

The Vanguard p.k.a. Qtopia,
6021 Hollywood Blvd.
Tix: $30.00,
Doors Open: 9 pm,
Show: 10 pm

04/30/2005, Sat
New York City, NY

The Roseland Ballroom,
239 W. 52nd St.
Tix: $TBD,
Show: TBD

Author: Angel Romero

Angel Romero y Ruiz has been writing about world music and progressive music for many years. He founded the websites and Angel produced several specials for Metropolis (TVE) and co-produced “Musica NA”, a music show for Televisión Española (TVE) in Spain that featured an eclectic mix of world music, fusion, electronica, new age and contemporary classical music. Angel also produced and remastered world music and electronic music albums, compilations and boxed sets for Alula Records, Ellipsis Arts, Music of the World, Lektronic Soundscapes, and Mindchild Records. Angel is currently based in Durham, North Carolina.