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Published: 2005/04/28

A Rare Appearance by The King of Juju Music

Legendary Nigerian bandleader King Sunny Adill make a rare domestic appearance when he headlines the African Ball at Manhattan’s Roseland Ballroom on Friday, returning the midtown rock venue to its dancehall roots. Day of show tickets price at $50, though — according to promoters — the gig will run from 10 pm through until 4 am. Audience members will get a chance to engage in the custom of ‘spraying,’ in which concertgoers are encouraged to scrawl their names on money, and ‘paste’ the bill onto a singer’s sweaty forehead in return for a song in praise.
Called the ‘undisputed king of juju music’ — highly danceable grooves characterized by lighter-than-air guitars and complex rhythms — King Sunny is a major cultural figure in his native Nigeria. With a thriving cottage industry including record labels, nightclubs, oil and mining operations, recording studios, and philanthropic organizations, Ads known as the Minister of Enjoyment. Since his 1974 debut he has released well over 100 albums. Though briefly groomed by Island Records to be Bob Marley’s successor on the ‘world’ music stage, the bandleader has gone his own way. Joining King Sunny and his band onstage will be renowned highlife singer Prince Obi Osadebe. As David Byrne reminds us often, all music is world music.

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