‘I Bought My First Guitar At 16 And I Had To Hide It From My Family’ – King Sunny Ade

Written by on January 1, 2020

King Sunny Ade said he bought his first guitar when he was 16 years old with personal savings and hid the instrument from his family who did not want him to go into music.

The 73-year-old Juju singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist said this while being interviewed by a nine-year-old fan, Temidara Onafuye.

Apart from singing. I play guitar, keyboard, different percussion instruments including talking drum, Sakara, Omele, and Konga – all these make African music stand out. I have passion for guitar, I see it as my baby and I cannot do without it.

Couple of years ago, I was rated 69th best guitarists in the whole world,” Chief Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye said.

“All my family members did not want me to play music because they believed that musicians at that time were not serious people

“Eventually. when I bought the guitar I hid it under the staircase.

“I was afraid to tell anybody that I wanted to go into the city for music training where I would be exposed.

Luckily for me, I chose my keys and my style of music which is known as “Juju”.

Juju music is a fusion of traditional Yoruba vocal forms and percussion with Western rock and roll and KSA is acclaimed to be in the vanguard of the development and international popularisation of the genre.

The internationally renowned musician recalled how he played music with the late comedian, dramatist and actor, Moses Olaiya, popularly known by his stage name, “Baba Sala”.

“Hardly do people know that Baba Sala was a musician. He played guitar, talking drum and his music was like that of IK Dairo.

“When he floated the Baba Sala Travelling Theatre, I was the one in charge of the music section,” he said.

KSA who disclosed that he had composed more than 3,000 songs said all his songs were his favourite because “each of them serves a purpose”.

On retirement, the Juju music maestro said he would play music till his death.

“I wanted to retire sometime ago, but my fans all over the world did not allow me.

“They said if I retire, what will I be doing.

“Juju music is in my blood, I cannot retire from music, I can only retire from the stage.

“Even at 100 years, God willing, I will still be singing,” he said.

KSA disclosed that he was working on a project of building a standard music school and a museum to document and preserve all genres of music, particularly the early ones.

“I have started building my own school and by the grace of God in a few years, there will be something on the ground for people to see.

“I did not study music anywhere and was not trained by anybody but I have passion for music.

“I look around the entire nation, we do not have a standard music school.

“Most of the Nigerian musicians of note are self made,” he said.

KSA said the museum would archive all genres of Nigerian early music, images and relics of musicians for young ones like Onafuye to visit and study.

”There is the need for documentation of our music and preserve them, particularly the old ones for the younger generation to study.

“You can imagine a place in Arizona where they have one of the biggest music museums and I have a diary there.

“People go there for tourism and the moment you pass through my stand they will play a bit of my song; “Synchro, synchro system”.

“If foreigner can do that, why not us? There is a need for us to keep records,” he said.

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