Sir Shina Peters | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Sir Shina Peters 

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Consistent reports from abroad have it that Sir Shina Peters has successfully gone from being the raging upstart of Nigerian juju music to reigning as its prime new star: his 1990 Ace has become the biggest-selling juju album ever, putting him securely out in front of both King Sunny Ade and Chief Commander Ebenezer Obey, the genre's two elder statesmen. Given the generally increasing level of blandness in recent African releases, a Yank who hasn't yet heard Peters might be tempted to wonder how much his commercial success owes to artistic merit. But the recorded evidence bears out that Peters not only has a first-rate band but is turning them loose on some mighty fresh ideas. Most impressive is how he's managed to bring guitar patterns derived from 70s American funk more to the forefront without screwing up either the distinctively west African vocal harmonics or the traditional loose, flowing rhythmic feel generated by the nine-piece percussion section. Peters is blending the some old ingredients in new proportions and, like former bandmate Segun Adewale, he sets himself apart from the old guys by slamming the beat harder and faster. Where Ade and Obey tend to lilt, Peters goes for that greasy, ragged edge. Friday, Equator Club, 4715 N. Broadway; 728-2411.

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