To listen to audio on Rock Paper Scissors you'll need to Get the Flash Player

Sample Track 1:
"King Sunny Ade; Synchro System" from Synchro Series
Sample Track 2:
"King Sunny Ade; Ota Mi Ma Yo Mi" from Synchro Series
Buy Recording:
Synchro Series
Layer 2
King Sunny Ade & Obi Osadebe North American Tour View Additional Info

The Art of Praise Singing and Grass-Roots Patronage:
King Sunny Ade & Prince Obi Osadebe Bring Together African & American Tribes of Juju & Highlife on Nationwide Tour

King Sunny Ade has never toured America like this before. As one of the earlier “world music” performers to reach the global stage, Nigeria’s most famous juju musician has enjoyed a long career on these shores. But never has he attempted to tour African-style, where concert-goers can practice the tradition of “spraying”—a form of arts patronage in which audience members simultaneously offer money to the performer while themselves receiving recognition in the form of “praise singing.” Until now.

This select city tour that will reach Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, Los Angeles Chicago and more, started when a family of Nigerian triplets decided to fly King Sunny to America to perform at a joint 40-year old birthday celebration. But when you go to the trouble to book one of Africa’s most successful musicians and full band, you might as well tour them too. Back home, Ade is known as the “Minister of Enjoyment” insuring delight for Nigerians at home and abroad, and is famous for his message of love and celebration.

Furthermore, highlife performer Prince Obi Osadebe will join Ade on stage, which will be another first. Never before have such high level Yoruba and Igbo musicians performed together, not only in America, but also in Nigeria! Osadebe is the son of Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, the only Nigerian ever to go Platinum in Nigeria. Though the Yoruba and Igbo fought civil wars in the past, they both share a strong reputation for their contributions to traditional and popular culture in Nigeria and maintain strong traditions of praise singing. So not only will Nigerians and Americans get to mingle on this rare occasion, so will Yoruba and Igbo get to share the stage as praise singers and patrons alike.

In Nigeria, parties occur at naming ceremonies, weddings, or business launches. The tradition of praise singing gives musicians a chance to make a living and patrons to gain public recognition. The praise-singer will call on stage community leaders, elders, politicians, and party hosts to literally sing their praises. The singer draws upon diverse and complex knowledge about family names and reputations, historic poetry and epic tales, and geography and regional folklore to create relevant stories or admiration that honor the addressee. 

The recipient of the praise responds in kind by “spraying” the singer with cash—which can take the form of pasting dollar bills on the singer’s sweaty forehead, showering the singer with money, or other ways of demonstrating gratitude for the praise. In fact, the method of spraying has itself taken on an art form, with some sprayers having a reputation for their particular style of spraying. And the longer you stick money on the singer, the longer the audience is focused on giving you attention—a sort of African form of advertising, marketing, and networking. But once your money runs out, you must make room for the next patron.

Americans can get a taste of this tradition along with the best in juju—a style that emerged in ramshackle palm wine halls a century ago—and highlife, which materialized in 1950s Ghana as an amalgamation of British police brass bands, imported Cuban rumba, and local vocal and drum styles. And they can find out why President Bill Clinton appreciated “the musical genius of King Sunny Ade” by dancing on stage with him and why Phish’s Trey Anastasio said, “If you go to see King Sunny, you know you're going to dance all night long.”

Additional Info
The Art of Praise Singing and Grass-Roots Patronage:King Sunny ...
The Beginner's Guide to African Late-Night Parties
Examples of Praise Singing Topics
Beginner's Guide to Spraying
Glossary of terms you may hear in praise singing

Top of Press Release