The word “legendary” might be a cliché these days, but if there’s anyone more worthy of the word on the Nigerian cultural circuit than King Sunny Ade, I’m yet to hear of him/her. In what is his 70th year on the face of the earth, concerted efforts have been made to recognize his standing and inspire the present crop of contemporary artists. His alignment with the Temple Management company has helped in this regard as they’re organizing his 70th Birthday concert to hold at the Federal Palace on Sunday, 11th of December. They also brokered his induction into the Hard Rock Cafe Hall of Fame, the first Nigerian artist to receive this honor. And that, my friends is why we are here. Billed to start for 11am, it ended up starting at 12.42pm. Not bad for Nigerian time perhaps but annoying nonetheless.
The event was anchored by Fela Oke and sponsored by Chivas who in a nod to KSA’s heritage gave out cocktails tagged Ondo Regal. Speaking of Ondo, the representative of the Governor Elect, Rotimi Akeredolu (SAN), Lakunle Runsewe was on hand to pass the well wishes of Mr Akeredolu and hand over a baseball cap with his nickname Aketi on it. Apparently, there were only 5 of the caps made- one went to President Buhari, another to Senate President Bukola Saraki and two for Mr. and Mrs. Akeredolu.
— King Sunny Ade (@KingSunnyAde70) November 30, 2016
The first remarks made came from Mark Redguard, Head of Entertainment at Temple who opened up by speaking about KSA and the item he was donating. He was followed by Director of Communications, Terfa Tilley- Gyado reciting a citation highlighting KSA’s antecedents (two Grammy nominations, being featured in Hollywood productions and inspiring a legion of artists across the continent). KSA then took the stage to talk about the guitar he was handing over to Hard Rock. It turns out this was the first guitar he bought- from Victor Olaiya for 1 pound, 9 shillings. It was also the guitar he used in recording his second album for Island Records- Syncro System released in 1983. He described the guitar as his “baby” and spoke of the emotional turmoil he had been through upon the realization that he would have to let something of such grave importance go. He also took the opportunity to show his appreciation to everyone present for sharing in his day of joy specifically name checking his management company and the journalists who he felt had played a key role over his career in acting as a conduit through which fans could gain access to their heroes.
Present to show their support were music artistes like Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy, Dija, Peter of P Square, Iyanya, Terry Apala and Tyson Noir comedians like Tee A and Bovi and radio personalities like Chris Ubosi, Olisa Adibua and Tosyn Bucknor. Bovi delivered an interesting riff in which he managed to highlight KSA’s legend by highlighting the different ways he impacted on the aforementioned artists.
Here’s wishing more milestone achievements to a true legend.
P.S If you have plenty of money and love memorabilia, there’s a KSA guitar which has received the artistic touch of Victor Ehikhamenor that’ll be auctioned at the concert.