Breaking News

Doyen of highlife music in Nigeria Victor Abimbola Olaiya is dead

By  | 

Abass Latifat

The Doyen of highlife music in Nigeria, Victor Abimbola Olaiya, is dead

He died at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital at exactly 12noon on Wednesday.

He was 89.

Bimbo Esho, managing director of Evergreen Music Company Ltd broke the news on Facebook.

Mrs. Esho, who is the daughter of highlife music enthusiast, Femi Esho, wrote, “We pray that the Doyen of highlife music find repose with the creator while wishing the family and entire music community the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss. And to my namesake Abimbola Olaiya I will miss your contribution to highlife music”.

A gifted trumpeter, Olaiya rose to global fame in the 1950s and 1960s through his blend of gripping highlife sound.

Olaiya was born on 31 December 1930, in Calabar, Cross River State. The 20th child of a family of 24, he was from a wealthy home.

At an early age, he learned to play the Bombardon and the French Horn. After leaving school he moved to Lagos, where he passed the school certificate examination in 1951 and was accepted by Howard University, US, to study Civil Engineering.

Olaiya instead pursued a career as a musician, to the disapproval of his parents.

He played with the Sammy Akpabot Band, led and played the trumpet for the Old Lagos City Orchestra and joined the Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra.

In 1954 Olaiya formed his band, the Cool Cats, playing popular highlife music. His band was chosen to play at the state ball when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Nigeria in 1956, and later to play at the state balls when Nigeria became independent in 1960 and when Nigeria became a republic in 1963.
In 1954 Olaiya formed his band, the Cool Cats, playing popular highlife music. His band was chosen to play at the state ball when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Nigeria in 1956, and later to play at the state balls when Nigeria became independent in 1960 and when Nigeria became a republic in 1963.
In 1954 Olaiya formed his band, the Cool Cats, playing popular highlife music. His band was chosen to play at the state ball when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Nigeria in 1956, and later to play at the state balls when Nigeria became independent in 1960 and when Nigeria became a republic in 1963.

Bobby Benson’s legacy includes raising many other A-list artists In the 80’s. They include Bayo Martins, Victor Olaiya the “Baby mi da” crooner and Sir victor Uwaifo who is popular known for his hit track Joromi among many others.
Bobby Benson’s legacy includes raising many other A-list artists In the 80’s. They include Bayo Martins, Victor Olaiya the “Baby mi da” crooner and Sir victor Uwaifo who is popular known for his hit track Joromi among many others.
Olaiya renamed his band to the All-Stars Band when they played the 1963 International Jazz Festival in Czechoslovakia.

 

He is survived by many wives, children, and grandchildren.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: