King Sunny Ade | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

King Sunny Ade 

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A friend of mine, asked once by me what he thought of Sunny Ade's Nigerian juju music, made a face and sniffed, "Too much rhythm." Which I guess makes as much sense as complaining that your lover is too sexy. But then some people are afraid of sex, and some people are afraid of rhythm too. Sunny's rhythm is intricate, timeless, and in its own way every bit as profoundly exultant as a Bach cantata (when last I saw his 17-piece band live, there were fleeting moments I actually felt lifted from the floor). Unlike his formidable countryman Fela Kuti, Sunny keeps his lyrics apolitical. Yet in his all-embracing music (which I count among the world's best), he ends up implicitly reaffirming that most important political truth of all: that we earthlings are all one and had better learn to share a fragile home that spins on its axis with the stubborn regularity of a drumbeat. Saturday, 7:30 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage; 929-5959.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Lauren Deutsch.

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