king sunny ade and demonic spirits | July 19, 2009


Could not get my shit together from the Bronx yesterday and got to the African Fest at Prospect Park near the tail end of King Sunny Ade's performance. Trains were crazy, making the BX-Bklyn commute almost two hours(!). But I'm a trooper. Missed Freshly Ground, though from what I heard of them a couple years ago in Jo'burg, I didn't miss too much. Sorry I missed Cheikh Mbaye and Sing Sing Rhythms, the amazing sabar drummers/dancers that teach my dance classes.

Earlier this week my dad saw King Sunny perform in Albany, and sent along this pic:

king sunny ade, juju music

Bassey meets King Sunny at the Music Heaven, Central Park, Schenectady, NY (7/12/09). Enjoy the photo of two old men from Lagos: Sunny Ade of Palace Landing Hotel and BEPCO (both of Herbert Macaulay Street, Yaba, Lagos—going back to 1969). God bless the King of Nigeria’s Juju music. It is a small world. Just make it better!!

--Dr. Essien

Lmao! My dad had a photography company, BEPCO, back in those days. I think he even still has his old camera. :)

King Sunny's dancers were on point, a pair of middle-aged Naija sisters with curves (like real women) that could shake their booties in a million different ways. King Sunny might be an old man, but his hips still work too. LOL. Haven't seen that many gyrations on stage since...well, I guess Seun Kuti. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree either, cause I know King Sunny's son Kunle, who lives works and drums in Bklyn. We in the African arts community are always wondering when he will get his shit together, since he's obviously music royalty, though his dad is clearly wondering the same thing since he didn't ask Kunle to perform with him.

After the show, ran into some cats from The AFRican (how many years must pass in order to call it "defunct"?) and Nollywood NYC, the thirty-something-year-old-male-dominated bunch of Naija filmmakers who host screening events. In tow was this crazy dude with extremely chapped lips and a grizzled beard who kept talking about the "spiritual quagmire" he was in regarding other people standing in the way of his success (he was unemployed and living with his parents in Yonkers). Apparently he recently returned from a failed business venture in NG to find himself plagued by various "demonic forces" hampering his success.

I offered that it is often ourselves who stand in our own way, a force far more powerful than anything else. He refused to listen, touting the mysticism and magicalism of Nollywood movies as evidence of the reality of occult, demonic forces (I was lmaoing at this point, and it didn't help that the guy was literally crying...I think his tear ducts have some kind of problem).

You know, if you're broke and unemployed, as many people are right now, please don't expend energy questioning the demonic forces standing in the way of your success. If they truly exist (which is questionable), you're only giving them more energy by thinking about them. Conversely, please do not spend all day praying for deliverance. Instead, focus on what you can do differently if your life isn't working. As my mom always said, may her soul rest in peace, God helps those who help themselves. And I stand as a living testament.

I will pray for that brother. :)

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