Remembering our musical icons: What would have become of them today?

Published:19 Jan, 2013

Admire their talents, envy them for daring to be what we can’t. When they were snatched from us by death, we felt a personal loss and showed an unwillingness to let go. And so, we transform these mere human beings into musical icons whose stars often shine in death even more brilliantly than in life. WG imagines what they would have become today if they had lived…

 

Fela Kuti (October 15, 1938-August 2,1997) The king of Afrobeat

The Afrobeat king would have fought to legalise marijuana in the country. Not only that, Fela would be a pot-smoking, wrinkled 75-year old still performing like Fatai Rolling Dollars, to huge audiences worldwide.

His electrifying performances, seismic music and defiant lifestyle which gave him a worldwide following would have gained more prominence today than ever. Fearlessly confronting the Nigerian establishment through his music, Fela surely would have become a thorn in the flesh of the present administration’s as he was, during the dark days of the military for its inability to tackle the insecurity problem in the country, especially the infamous activities of the Islamic sect, Boko Harram.  Trust him, Fela would have been the first person to occupy Nigeria, fighting against injustice and the freedom of the oppressed people.

fela

*Fela

One of his fans simply enthused, “Fela would have become a deity with many worshipers.” His music indeed, would have gained more popularity just as his irrepressible rebelliousness and determination to champion the cause of Nigeria’s underdogs through his music would have earned him innumerable physical assaults, police raids at his New Afrike Shrine and numerous arrests.

But above all, Fela would have been larger than life, doing collaboration with his two sons, Femi and Seun as well as globalising Afrobeat genre. Interestingly, 16 years after his death,  memories of  Fela still lives on. Despite a new museum which was commissioned last year in his honour, his New Afrika Shrine, Fela’s famed nightclub, still attracts fans from Nigeria and beyond, who dance to the spellbinding Afrobeat rhythms until sunrise.

 

Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe (March 1936-May 11, 2007) The king of Highlife

Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe would have turned 77 years of age in March, if he had not transited into ancestry. He bowed out of the stage when his music was massively gaining popularity among the elites in the society. With a career spanning 40 years, Osadebe was one of the best known Igbo highlife musicians that ever lived. But unfortunately, he died without a successor.

His most popular hit, “Osondi Owendi” released in 1984, and was remixed by late MC Loph, established Osadebe as a king of highlife genre in Nigeria. While he lived, he wrote over 500 songs; half of which were released commercially. He had been a part of the Empire Rhythm Orchestra, led by E. C. Arinze in which he had learned much of his music skills.

Osadebe’s style which included social commentary, similar to, but not as confrontational as Fela Kuti’s formed part of the elements that stood him out among his contemporaries in the highlife genre.

If for anything today, Osadebe would have either made more hit songs, or taken  highlife music  to its greatest heights. His usual manner of carrying his audience along, allowing room for ‘people on the dance floor’ to indulge in the songs would have edified by  now. But despite the insinuations that  his  career had reached its zenith before he passed on, it’s arguable however that the Osondi Owendi exponent was ready to surmount all the odds in order to still be relevant in the nation’s music industry.

One of  Osadebe’s last albums, “Kedu America”, was a testament to the unwavering powers of his creativity. But his death, which occurred  in far away Connecticut on May 11, 2007, due to severe respiratory difficulties ended the journey of 40 years. He’d still be playing the field and adding to his giant brood as he pushed 77.

 

Dr. Sir Warrior (1947– June 2, 1999) The end of an era

The demise of Ezebuiro Obinna aka Dr. Sir Warrior, will continue to astound the entertainment industry any time it is remembered. He was one of the most influential musicians to come out of the Igbo nation  and the leader of the famous Oriental Brothers International Band which ruled the Nigerian highlife music scene for several decades.

Born in Umuhu, Inyi-Ogwugwu in Agbaaja, Mbaise. Sir Warrior started his music career as a part of the most successful bands in Nigeria in the early 1970s, the Oriental Brothers International Band. At a time of immense loss and great struggle after the civil war, the Oriental Brothers offered a rare light of hope to the Igbos.

The first split within the group occurred in 1977 when founding members, Dansatch Opara and Prince Ichita left to start their own bands under the Oriental Brothers moniker. The Opara brothers later joined The Oriental Original.

While Warrior lived, he was indisputably unbeatable. His discography was luminous with over 100 tracks that continue to be great hits any day.  He had about 12 platinum and 10 gold hits in his career. His 1978 album, Nwanne Awu Enyi went gold, selling more than 7.8 million copies.

He was immortalized with the Imo State Heartland FM (100.5 MHz)dedicated to playing his evergreen songs. But unlike Osadebe, Warriors has since resurrected in two of his sons, Uche Obinna and Ajuzieogu Obinna and his brother, Emperor Teddy Obinna  who have taken after this magnificent maestro.

Believe it or not, if he had not succumbed to death on June 2,1999, Warrior would not only have given highlife music a new meaning in the country, he would have been fascinated to see his two sons take after him. Besides, he would still be a much-sought-after highlife maestro in the country.  But like his fellow highlife artistes noted, “ since his exit, it has been difficult to get another person with similar qualities as Warrior.”

 

Sonny Okosun (January 1, 1947-May 24,2008) The freedom fighter!

He towers among the giants of contemporary Nigerian musicians. With his signature fusion of reggae, highlife, Afro-funk, traditional melodies and rhythms, the catchall description “Ozziddi”, Sonny Okosun was a force to reckon with, in the nation’s music industry during his lifetime.  He used his music to tackle head-on the most incendiary political and social issues gripping the African continent, especially the now abolished apartheid in South Africa.

*Sonny Okosun

*Sonny Okosun

Born in Enugu, on January 1, 1947, Okosun launched into stardom in the early 70’s with his fiery Oziddi music, in an era when highlife music was at its peak of popularity. He first started with Help then Fire in Soweto. But his music, which took the country by storm, and which was acclaimed to be his best, was Papa’s land. He was a strong voice and advocated a popular ideological struggle in the fight against apartheid through his songs.

While he lived, Okosun maintained a high profile at world music festivals across the globe. Though,  he  used the last days of his life to win souls for Christ as an Evangelist. His death  which occurred on May 24, 2008, in Washington D.C, after battling colon cancer, marked the end of an era for a man who dedicated his life, fighting for the oppressed in the society.

If he had been alive today, Okosun would have made the difference in the nation’s music circle. Perhaps, he would have either  set up a contemporary music school that would immortalise his ‘Oziddi music’ .

 

Orlando Owoh (February 14, 1932 -Novemeber6,2008) Inspiring young musicians

Even in death, Orland Owoh’s music has continued to take a top spot in the catalogue of brilliant, locally-made music; music that captured the pulse of the ‘independence’ generation; with a firm grip on the core elements of traditional African lifestyle, history, lore and idioms.

With a story to every song, a musical ensemble uniquely his, a queer baritone voice like no other, and a dramatic private-public life, Owoh who died on November 6, 2008, stayed on top of his game, remaining relevant through different era, and eventually influencing a generation of musicians who continue to derive inspiration from his timeless pieces. Indeed, like never before, Owoh would have continued to inspire the young musicians.

Thanks to his “Iyawo Olele”, a parody of the cheating wife, which was reworked by Nomoreless and dozens of present-day musicians. Kangaroo, an excellent cut whose beats and chorus have been sampled by many Nigerian and Ghanian musicians were some of his contributions that would have still made Owoh relevant in the present music indsutry.

Also, many of Owoh hits are still relevant today; their musical direction, their message. From Logba Logba to Ibaje Eniyan, Money Palava, Alagbon, Yellow Sisi, and Laiku Egiri, Orlando Owoh made music that can stand the test of time; music that’ll endure the most volatile changes and guide future generations on how to go about documenting a tradition musically. Orlando Owoh had over 45 albums to his name, most of them his own original compositions.

Rave singer 9ice, who is presently on a performance tour of the United states, called Owoh’s death a “tragedy”.

 

 

via Vanguard

Related Posts

Recent Posts

I Will Defend Democracy For Life – Tinubu

The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has said he will devote the rest of his life to the defence of democracy in Nigeria. He said Nigeria must keep perfecting its democracy despite the daunting challenges. The former governor of Lagos State said this in a statement, titled, “We must not take our democracy for granted,” on Sunday. According to him, the country needed an unrivalled fiscal policy to weather the economic storm. Tinubu said those that looted the...

Kebbi To Revive Argungu Fishing Festival

kebbi government on Sunday promised to revive the popular Argungu International Fishing and Cultural Festival, last held seven years ago. Gov Atiku Bagudu made the pledge in Birnin Kebbi when he addressed a town hall meeting as part of activities marking his first year in office. He said a committee had been established to works out modalities for the organisation of the festival in 2017. The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that apart from fishing, the three-day festival also features cultural...

Gov. Ambode Launches N500m Disability Fund

Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State on Sunday set up the state's Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWD) Fund with N500 million. Ambode spoke at a programme for the physically challenged with theme: "Celebrating Ability in Disability" at the Lagos House, to commemorate his first year in office. Ambode said that the aim of the Fund was to ensure level playing field for the physically challenged who were usually presumed not able to live normal lives. "This Fund is for the advancement of...

President Buhari To Launch Ogoni Clean-Up June 2

President Muhammadu Buhari will launch the Ogoni land clean-up on June 2, a statement has said. This is contained in a statement issued by Mr Chijioke Amu-Nnadi, Head of Corporate Affairs unit, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) in Port Harcourt on Monday. It stated that the Minister of Environment, Mrs Amina Mohammed, confirmed the date when she visited Bodo in Gokana Local Government Area of the state to inspect an oil spill clean-up demonstration. The statement quoted Mohammed as saying that...

Police Nab 13 Suspected IPOB Members In Enugu

No fewer than 13 suspected members of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) were on Monday arrested by the Police for alleged unlawful protest in Enugu. The Enugu Police spokesman, Mr Ebere Amaraizu told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that the suspects were arrested on Obiagu Road in the Coal City, while commemorating `Biafran fallen heroes and heroines of the 1967 -1970 civil war’. He said they were apprehended with flags of Biafra. Amaraizu said the command had embarked on a...

We’ll Make Nigerians Buy Made-In-Nigeria Products – FG

The Federal Government says it intends to make Nigerians look inwards by buying products, especially vehicles made in the country. The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said this when he featured on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja. Onu explained that it was the only way to make Nigeria a producer country and to encourage local manufacturers to produce and grow the economy.   ``We already have made in Nigeria car. ``We want to champion the idea...

Man Kills Friend For Refusing To Help Him Charge His Phone In Lagos

A bricklayer, Demola Wasiu, has been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly killing his friend, Lekan Omotosho, 27. Punch Metro learnt that Wasiu, an indigene of Ede, Osun State, stabbed the Ogun State indigene in the armpit after he refused to charge his phone for him. The victim was said to have lost a lot of blood before he was rushed to the Lagos Island General

Shocking! Egypt’s Minister Refers to Other African Representatives at UN Conference as “Dogs and Slaves” | Read Memo

It was at the United Nations Environmental Assembly according to an informed source. The bone of contention appeared to be an issue with a resolution on Gaza. We have now accessed a document going within diplomatic circles on what really transpired. You can also see the tweet from one James Smart who appears to have been at the session or is in on what really transpired. Below is the text of the memo sent by Yvonne Khamati, the Chair...

Civil Defence Uncovers 2 Bomb-Making Factories In Maiduguri

The Borno State Command of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps (NSCDC) on Sunday discovered two bomb-making factories in Dikwa. The NSCDC Commandant in the state, Mr Ibrahim Abdullahi, made the disclosure in an interview in Maiduguri. Abdullahi said that the factories were discovered during a patrol by men of the command in collaboration with the troops of the 22 Armoured Brigade of the Nigerian Army. “In an effort to comply with the directives of...

One Year In Office: NOI Poll Rates Buhari

Nigerians have given President Muhammadu Buhari 64 per cent average in its overall job performance rating after one year in office. The latest polls results by NOIPolls Limited released on Monday revealed that President Buhari’s approval rating between June 2015 and May 2016 ranged from his highest of 80 per cent in October 2015 to the lowest of 42 per cent in April 2016. NOIPolls regularly conducts periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic...

Navy Anniversary: Sailing Club Holds Diamond Jubilee Boat Race

The Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Ibok Ette-Ibas has said that the Navy Sailing Club had performed up to expectation by producing athletes that have represented the country in international events. Etta-Ibas who was represented by Rear Adm. Joe Okojie said this at a championship organized by the club to celebrate the diamond jubilee of the Nigeria Navy on Sunday in Lagos. He noted the Club had contributed immensely to the development of water...

Men In Pakistan Encouraged To “Lightly Beat” Their Wives If They…

A constitutional body in Pakistan put forth legislation that would allow men to "lightly beat" their wives if they refuse sex or decline to wear outfits preferred by their husbands. The Council of Islamic Ideology, also known as CII, proposed the legislation last week and it's already sparked anger in Pakistan. The 160-page draft has to be...

Britain Is Most Corrupt Country On Earth, Says Mafia Expert, Roberto Saviano

He has spent more than a decade exposing the murderous criminal underworld of the Italian Mafia, but journalist Roberto Saviano believes that Britain is the most corrupt country in the world. The author of international bestsellers Gomorra and ZeroZeroZero,  has lived under police protection since publically denouncing members of the Camorra, a powerful Neopolitan  organised crime syndicate, in 2006. On Saturday he made a rare historic appearance at the Hay Literary Festival flanked by several security...

Sunday Osanyintuyi: Buhari’s Presidency; One Year After and Wailing Wailers Achievements

  Setting out to address a subject of this nature appears a huge task for me with reasons.  I am neither in government nor any party’s card carrying member. But as one of those who campaigned seriously for the current president just before March 28th, 2015 elections, the onus lies on me to access its successes, criticized its failures while setting clearer agenda for its progress. Needleless to mention that inability of sycophants of disposed GEJ administration to...

Soldiers Invade Tompolo’s Town Kurutie (Little London)

Soldiers swooped on Kurutie (Little London), another community in Gbaramatu kingdom, Warri South-West Local Government Area, Delta State, ?in six gunboats at about 4.30 am, today (Monday) , hunting for members of the Niger Delta Avengers. The residents were asleep when they came, but many scampered into the bush when heard the sound of the gunboats. The soldiers, who quickly cordoned the community, embarked on a house to house search. “I am looking at the soldiers...

Lawmaker Demands Release Of Detained Legislative Aides

A member of Kogi State House of Assembly, Idris Ndako, has expressed concern over the continued detention of some legislative aides and called for their immediate and unconditional release from police detention. Ndako condemned what he said was the illegal arrest and detention of four legislative aides on account of disrupting the sitting of the House members last week, adding that they were their legislative aides and were arrested at Crusher Village while waiting for their...

Gunmen Kill 8 In Rivers

Gunmen suspected to be cultists Saturday night killed eight persons including the oldest man in Ozochi, Ahoada East LGA of Rivers State in an attack believed to be a reprisal. A source from the community said the cult members invaded the community, shooting sporadically, but could not confirm which group carried out the act or the motive. They also set shops and other property ablaze. The Caretaker Committee Chairman of Ahoada East LGA,...

Why Buhari Did Not Release Details Of Stolen Asset Recovered From Corrupt Officials– Lai Mohammed

President Muhammadu Buhari did not release details of looted asset, recovered from corrupt persons, due to “legal reasons”, an official has said. The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, disclosed this on Sunday evening, hours after Mr. Buhari’s Democracy Day broadcast. “Yes, he initially said so (that he’ll give specific details about recovered loot), but he was advised against doing so for legal reasons,” the Cable Newspapers quoted Mr. Mohammed as saying during an interview...

Oil Facilities Attacks: Tompolo Calls On Militants To Ceasefire

The ex-militants leader, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), yesterday called on the new militant group, the Niger Delta Avengers, to put an end to its attacks on oil facilities, saying it would not do the nation any good, especially at this critical period of the country’s economy. In a statement titled: ‘A Call to the Niger Delta Avengers to give Peace a Chance in the Niger Delta Region,’’ which he personally signed, the Ibe-ebidouwei of the...

Troops Arrest Niger Delta Avengers’ Men

Ten suspected members of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) – the group of militants smashing oil facilities in the Niger Delta – have been arrested in Delta State. Besides, a military patrol team prevented some gunmen believed to be its members from attacking pipelines in Bayelsa State. The Army yesterday paraded the 10 suspects in Benin, the Edo State capital, yesterday. The suspects were arrested at about 1:40am on Saturday in Oporaza community, Warri South-West Local...

Crocodile Takes Woman During Night Swim

A woman is feared dead after being seized by a crocodile during a night-time swim with a friend at a beach in northern Australia, with reports that she yelled “A croc’s got me!” before disappearing. The women went for a stroll on Thornton Beach on Sunday evening in the far north of Queensland state before making a fateful decision to take a dip in an area known to be infested with the reptiles. “The woman...