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King Sunny Ade & Femi Kuti preview

| June 24, 2009

Ravinia Festival, Highland Park
Wednesday, July 1, 2009


Nigeria might be notorious for constant political turmoil, but there’s another constant in Nigerian culture that everyone should experience at least once: participating in a raucous Nigerian party with non-stop music. If you don’t have any Nigerian friends, not to worry, Ravinia is throwing a blockbuster Nigerian party, also called a King Sunny Ade and Femi Kuti concert.

A typical Sunny Ade concert lasts at least four hours and that’s only if there are parameters like, say, the venue has to close. The Minister Of Enjoyment, The Chairman, The King Of Juju — all are titles Ade (currently supporting Seven Degrees North on Blue Moon/Mesa) has earned for performing blistering sets of the complex, interlocking, guitar-and-percussion rhythms known as juju. Just one of Ade’s tunes, fortified with a band of up to 30 members, lasts an average of 40 minutes. It’s the ultimate jam style that has influenced not only countless African musicians but Americans like Phish’s Trey Anastasio as well. A Sunny Ade show pulls out all aspects of Nigerian culture; expect fans draped in glittering agbadas, dancing all over the stage and in the stands, eager spraying or presenting of money to the band and an all-out fun time.

As the son of legendary Afrobeat creator Fela Kuti, Femi Kuti continues his father’s legacy of funky, politically charged, and jazz-inflected grooves, as heard on Day By Day. His shows also last for hours, so wear comfortable shoes and don’t expect to sit down much.

Rosalind Cummings-Yeates

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Category: Stage Buzz, Weekly

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