King Sunny Ade & His African Beats

Listen: Ja Funmi (Remix) / King Sunny Ade & His African Beats KingSunnyJaFunmi.mp3

Chris Blackwell was always a believer that the world would be, or eventually be, open minded and enjoy a wider musical palate. Logically, in the early 80′s he started releasing African artists to the pop consumer. Everyone enjoys a bit of world music in their life, right?

Unfortunately, not as many as would have – had they heard it.

When I joined Island, it was like an oasis, being a part of the music business, yet at the same time comfortably away from the mainstream. An A&R person’s dream come true. You could take a flight to Paris for a Ray Lema or Ali Farke Toure show – and have Chris excitedly anticipate your opinion.

But even before Island, I was bitten by the King Sunny Ade & His African Beats bug. Roger McCall and I would play his stuff seamlessly amongst all the punk, reggae and new wave on our weekly ‘specialty show’.

We particularly loved ‘Ja Funmi’ – I wonder, did anyone else?

Listen: Ase / King Sunny Ade & His African Beats KingSunnyAse.mp3

There’s a great 12″ extended dance mix of ‘Ase’ that Island US promo’d, but an edited 7″ – now that’s a treat. Found this one lying around Island’s London St. Peter’s Square radio department – seems the promo folks were only too happy that I carted off a whole 25 count boxlot with me.

A beauty indeed.

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