King Sunny Ade

July 20
7 p.m.
In the early 1980s, Nigerian King Sunny Ade and his African Beats were the vanguard of a wave of African musicians that swept into Europe and North America with fascinating music. Ade, descendent of Yoruban royalty, and his 20-odd Beats introduced juju, a sinuous, rhythmically rich genre dating to the early 20th century that incorporated traditional and outside influences. Ade's many innovations included multiplying the complexity of the rhythms rolling off the talking drums; adding electrified instruments, including multiple guitars backing his lead, pedal steel, bass, and synthesizers; and adjusting the relationship of his lead in the call-and-response vocal patterns. The result was sublime music juxtaposing equally infectious melodies and sophisticated percussion in a packed but buoyant context. Ade and his band are back in the U.S. for the first time in seven years, the tour coinciding with his 70th birthday and the 50th anniversary of his band.