a joyous celebration of juju

E Dide/Get Up (Mesa/Buemoon)
King Sunny Ade

By Allen Howie

We Americans are slow to change our musical tastes. What sometimes seem like rapid shifts in popular style are more often the result of a lot of artists inching the musical door open a little at a time, until some one finally breaks through the barriers of culture and custom.

Nigerian guitarist King Sunny Ade was one of those knocking at the door on behalf of African pop music back in 1984. Two years later, Paul Simon slipped past him and onto the charts with Graceland, an album loaded with African guest musicians. Since then, world music in general has received a warmer reception, whilclt gives hope for E Dide/Get Up, the first studio album to he released in the U.S. by King Sunny Ade in a decade.

Recorded in Seattle with Ad's twenty- plus member hand, the African Beats, the new disc is a joyous celebration of juju. a musical style that blends talking drums with layered guitar lines and call-and-response vocals.

The thirteen tunes on E Dide/Get Up justify earlier comparisons of their com- poser to Bob Marley. Ade and his players remain absolutely true to their rnusical roots, which can be traced back to the traditional drummers of western Nigeria's Yoruba tribe, but they sweeten their percolating polyrhythms and intricate guitars with sunny vocal harmonies and crystalline production.

The songs here are nearly all sung in praise of someone, from family and friends to God Himself. The liner notes Translate the lyricsinto EngIish, and their simple elegance is yet another of the album's charms. And occasionally, as in the title track and "Dance, Dance, Dance," the singers alternate between English and their native tongue.

In truth, though, language presents no barrier to the interested listener. E Dido/Get Up offers ample evidence of King Sunny Ade's talents, and makes a delightful, danceable introduction to this joyful music.