|KSA....People do all sorts of evil to attack artistes on stage|
“From the first one, Alaanu ni Oluwa (1967) to the most recent, Divine Shield (2005) I have made a total of 111 albums. Sometimes when people ask me how many albums I have, I tell them to look at my face and add one to the two marks there! In my music, I encourage people to appeciate God. For over 25 years, side one of all my albums contain songs that praised God. The other side is where I sing songs for leisure, relaxation and enjoyment. As much as possible, my songs address the ills in the society.
In my music, I urge people to do good no matter what. When Nigeria was under pressure under General Sani Abacha, for instance, I gathered some friends in the music industry and we recorded, The Way Forward. Tension was high in the land at that time and when we released the record, the magic happened but with the help of God, Telemi and others.
“Not too long ago, somebody was spraying me when I stepped on a box close to a standing fan. The electricity shock sent my microphone out of my hand while I fell flat on the ground. The man who was spraying also fell from the shock. But the audience thought it was a style until they saw my face squeezed in pain”
|KSA with Colleagues, late Fatai Rolling Dollars & Ebenezer Obey; says 'Musicians are equally endangered species in the hand of fans'|
Composing of music comes to me in different ways. I have people who give me songs. I compose myself and a lot of them I compose on the spot. Some I compose in the studio. Instant songs can come even on stage. A line of chorus can start off a composition. My door is always open for new songs to come in and for other people to bring songs to me.
Power of generational ability…
Many of those I’m playing for now, I played for their fathers when they were born – some on their eight day naming ceremony. Today I’m playing for them on their wedding ceremony or for their new born babies. I don’t know what made it so. All I know is that when the demand for you comes like that, you must always see it as a sign to thank God and do your best.
How I lost loyalty twice…
It has not always been smooth sailing for me. Twice, for instance, my band broke up and I had to start all over again. The first break-up was in 1971 shortly after we returned from England. The band members gave me a condition on the sharing of proceeds from the band – 10 percent for me while the band gets 90%. I said okay, if that is the case, let’s do it for six months as long as they would be giving me money for the Area Boys whenever and wherever the band wanted to play and there was trouble. Unfortunately, they did not listen to me. Instead, they said we owned the band together and should break up. When I asked how, they said we should sell the instruments, the band and everything. So we packed all the things and put in the custody of our patron, Chief Tunde Oshodi in Idi-Oro. Then I went back to England a month after and bought instruments both new and fairly used. When I came back, I did not tell anybody. Later, I called everybody and said, whoever wants to play with me, should come as I now had new instruments. But of the 12 about eight of them came and I took five. We played together till 1985.
|KSA with some Patrons|
Breaking & rebuilding the house…
In 1985, another problem arose. This time was when we went to Japan for a jazz festival sponsored by Panasonic. And because we were given a lot of tickets (35 instead of 30), I saw it as an opportunity to accommodate more people. My sin to them was that I also took along my brother who was then selling electronics in Benin, and only wanted to check the market there. The rumour spread that the band had been given 200 video and TV sets which my brother actually came to collect. They even said to me, “give us 100 and take the remaining 100”. I thought they were joking but found out that they meant it. All my explanations fell on deaf ears until I showed them a copy of the agreement, receipts and everything. All are blackmail.
They did not also agree with me to use part of our proceeds to repair the instruments that was dropped for us in England by Nigeria Airways. Even when I said on our stop over in England that we should carry up the equipment so that it would be charged on everybody and not on me alone as I did not have enough money to pay for it, they refused, saying they want to stay in England for sometime and do some shopping. I said, “why are you people talking to me like that? Well, my dear brothers, consider the band broken”. The instrument till date is still in London. And half of the members of the band stayed back in London doing nothing.
When I got back to Nigeria I had to send the news to the press that I had disbanded my band as I did not want to face any court action. I had to buy a new set of musical instruments. The manufacturers came from England to install it themselves. For four, five months I did not do any show. I said to myself that it was time to re-build and re-focus my band. And the night the band played with only a few old members, everybody was surprised. It was a new band and the audience just loved it…
How people use Juju on artistes…
Now, what about the risks that one had had to face in the course of dishing music to music lovers? Let’s take spraying of money which everybody believes makes us happy. I remember one day that somebody was spraying me, I opened my eyes and at that moment the currency went straight inside my right eye. I was in pains and water kept coming out of my eye. Sometimes it was like there was a fly inside it. It took a whole one and a half years before healing took place.
Not too long ago, somebody was spraying me when I stepped on a box close to a standing fan. The electricity shock sent my microphone out of my hand while I fell flat on the ground. The man who was spraying also fell from the shock. But the audience thought it was a style until they saw my face squeezed in pain. What of the incident that happened to me at Railway Recreation Club at one of their end of year dances? It was midnight and I wanted to sing my usual song to herald the New Year, Baba Modupe.
The only thing I remember seeing was like a flash light which was really live electricity on my guitar! I flew from that spot to the other end of the stage. I was lucky that the guitar fell off my hand, what a day to remember?.
Once, the plane we were in suddenly went down from 37000 feet to 27000 feet on our way to New York City in America. All I remember saying was, “God please save my soul”. That was about the 100th time we would be flying wihtin America on that tour. All the air hostesses were crying like babies. Since then, I don’t fly within America. Anytime we landed there, we take a bus. Even if it takes 24 hours to get to our destination, I don’t mind…
(Excerpts from the book; KSA: My Life, My Music by King Sunny Ade. Read ‘The humiliation that made me to buy a Rolls Royce’ tomorrow on this blog)