Juju maestro KSA say’s Ebenezer Obey and him often pretended to be at loggerheads

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Juju maestro , Sunday Adegeye, popularly known as King Sunny Ade , speaks about his personal life, music, and style, among others

What is the secret behind your youthful look at 73 ?


I have been asked this question several times and I always say it is by the grace of God .

I also believe that my fans made me look like this because they engage me with shows , and on the stage , I dance and jump around .

That is a form of exercise on its own .

I will also say I have been lucky, so I thank God .

My mother also had a unique stature. I neither smoke nor drink.

People believe that musicians often get intoxicated by taking alcohol or drugs before their performances .

What do you take to be so energetic on stage ?


It is difficult for me to explain but I don’ t drug to perform on stage .

It comes naturally to me .

How did you begin your journey into the music industry?


I was told by my mother that I was born on September 22 , 1946 , in Ondo town, but I grew up and schooled in Osogbo (Osun State).

I went to African School, Methodist School, and I also did a bit of my college at St Benedict , and St Charles (all in Osogbo) but I didn’ t finish there because I loved music so much .

I ran away to meet Moses Olaiya , popularly called Baba Sala.

He was a musician but many people didn ’ t know he was one – he played the guitars , accordion and other instruments.

At the time Mose Olaiya diverted from music to theatre , did you join them ?

He did not divert , he only formed another group called Moses Olaiya Travelling Theatre .

He loved theatre but he was not part of them.

The theatre group was a separate department while we, the musicians, were on our own .

Pa Olaiya was the leader of the band, while one of his wives and his brother were handling the theatre .

I had actually spent about three years with them before the formation of the theatre group .

But I was the first to be transferred to the theatre group to handle the music side of it because I played the percussions and other instruments .

I could also dance , so we were the ones that did the opening scenes.

At the time you were there , was your mother not looking for you ?

It was so funny , and I pray none of my children would do that.

I often sent messages to her through drivers in the motor park because she was popular in Osogbo.

She was a caterer and used to cater to about 600 people in a day .

So , I sent a message to her that I was then a student of the University of Lagos , and according to the messenger , my mother jumped up (with joy ) but said that she wanted to hear my voice .

She said since I left home during the holidays , I should also return home during the holidays .

It was not like now when one could just pick up the phone and call the school to confirm .

I often say I’ m one of the luckiest persons.

When did you start your own band ?

I started my band in 1966.

Can you compare music then and now ?

You cannot compare the music of a particular time with another because music keeps evolving .

Music is seasonal .

The future will become current while the current will become the past .

However , at that time , all of us had a passion for music , although it was difficult to do music if your family didn’ t permit you .

The only Nigerian families that allowed their children to do music were those outside the shores of the country.

Then, it was difficult to tell my family ; even my sisters and brothers didn’ t know I had become a musician .

When your mother eventually knew that you were into music , how did she react ?

I later went home to explain myself because I felt I had committed a sin .

I begged God to allow them to forgive me .

So , I went home , very well dressed and with the little money I had.

I was the youngest in the band then, so I had no wife or responsibilities .

Whenever I got money , I saved it . While with the band, I was an errand boy for everybody since I was the youngest .

Whenever we ordered for food , the extra was always mine.

How many years did you spend with Baba Sala ’ s band ?

I was there for about four years.
Who were your contemporaries when you started your band ?

Back then, Baba Sala worked with the Lagos Town Council as a sanitary inspector .

So , it was whenever he had the time that he would join us as the leader of the band, except weekends when he was fully with us .

He had a very good friend then called Chief Tunde Amuwo .

He was so popular and owned a band called , Tunde Amuwo and His High Society Band .

He was the one that usually played for the Action Group in those days .

But when another government took over from the Action Group , his instruments were just idle .

He then called me and said he had instruments at home which he would like to give to me for me to start a band.

But I told him Baba Sala was like a father to me and I couldn ’ t bite the fingers that fed me .

However , some months later , Baba Sala called me and said a friend of his wanted to give me some instruments .

He went on to say opportunities were meant to be grabbed, that I should take the offer and if after nine months , I didn’ t find it easy , I could come back to his band.

I will never forget that day because I was close to tears .

I eventually didn’ t know what to do , and I became sick.

Later, I called one of my roommates, who was also a musician but didn’ t play with our group ( because I didn’ t want to touch the group at all) .

We went to Western Coliseum in Apongbon area of Lagos to check the instruments .

They were exactly like the ones Baba Sala, IK Dairo , Roy Chicago had.

I then decided to give it a try since I had nine months ’ grace. Within me , I decided that even before the expiration of the nine months , I would go back to Baba Sala because I didn ’ t want to lose the band. But today , I have yet to go back .

It took us a month to get a name for the band and members to join.

We eventually called it the High Society Band led by Sunny Ade .

By that time , I could not call my name in full .

Why didn’ t you use your real name?

I didn’ t do that because they would know it was me at home , so I shortened Sunday to Sunny and Adegeye to Ade .

How lucrative was the music business then ?

Back then, everybody that played instruments was passionate about it . It was only the big stars such as IK Dairo , Ayinde Bakare , Tunde Nightingale , Tunde Kings , and JO Araba , that were making money then.

I really didn’ t know how musicians made money then because I was not making money .

However , we were happy because we did the job with passion.

People perceived you and Chief Ebenezer Obey as rivals who always attacked each other with songs .

Why were you always fighting ?

It was the fans that believed we were always fighting .

Obey and I had been friends since we began our bands and we are still friends till date .

He started his band a year before me . Also , we pretended to be fighting in order for our fans to enjoy our music .

Then, we used to play at night clubs , and where he was playing wasn’ t far from where I played.

I recall that the fans would go and

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