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Baba Mo Tunde

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Album Review

It's been ten years since King Sunny Ade last released a studio album, so this is a welcome return for Nigeria's finest, backed up by a vigorous young band on a double-CD set that gives him plenty of time to stretch out. There might not be too many tracks, but that's because they all receive plenty of air, especially the half-hour-plus of "Baba Mo Tunde," which takes wing halfway through and soars like a Grateful Dead jam for the remaining 15 minutes. The production is lovingly crisp, with the percussion well to the fore. King Sunny Ade himself seems happier to play a background role, although there are moments when he comes to the fore and his delightfully incisive guitar work rolls out like a bell, as on part of "Eyi Ma Dun To." That's one of two jokers in the pack here, beginning in a very folksy way, with plentiful flute, before capturing the eternal groove. The other anomaly is the King Britt remix of "Baba Mo Tunde," shorter than the original and eminently dispensable next to the real thing. Americans Wayne Horvitz and Joe Doria both add keyboard, with "Oro Yi Bale" a virtual Hammond-fest that adds Transatlantic soul to the Yoruba mix. This is Ade at his finest, not even losing a yard of his pace over the last decade. Now we should all just hope that we don't have to wait ten more years for his next work.


Born: 20 September 1946 in Oshogbo, Nigeria

Genre: World

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

King Sunny Ade is the undisputed king of juju music, the dance-inspiring hybrid of western pop and traditional African music with roots in the guitar tradition of Nigeria. Although he's yet to equal the success that he enjoyed with his early-'80s albums and American tours, Ade and his band, His African Beats, continue to weave an infectious blend of electric guitars, synthesizers and multi-layered percussion. Born to a family of Nigerian royalty, Ade left school to pursue a career in music. In the...
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Baba Mo Tunde, King Sunny Ade
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