Editors' pick

King Sunny Ade & His African Beats


Editorial Review

Before there was afrobeat, jj music was Nigeria's main musical export and King Sunny Ad (listen) its most well-known ambassador. Ad expanded on a form of indigenous party music by introducing Western elements like pedal steel guitar and synthesizers, and as a pioneer of world music, he widened the passageway for other emissaries of African sounds like Salif Keita, Youssou N'Dour and Oliver Mtukudzi. . Through his four decades of recording, he has been wildly prolific; his output passed the triple-digit mark around the turn of the 21st century. The swooping tones of the talking drum lead his rhythm section, and when it gets cooking, the party rocks on for hours. King Sunny Ad brings his African Beats to the 9:30 club tonight.

-- Rhome Anderson (July 2009)