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...Known professionally as the “Chief Commander,” Ebenezer Obey’s career trajectory mixed innovative musical performance with traditional music and lyrics and song structure. Obey was born in the Nigerian state of Ogun in 1943 to Egba-Yoruba...
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...As the principal interpreter of Nigerian juju music, King Sunny Adé was one of the first African artists to reach a global audience. Born into a royal family of the Yoruba people in Ondo State, Nigeria in 1946, Adé began his musical career...

Rex Lawson

Artist Pages

...Nicknamed “Cardinal Rex,” the Nigerian bandleader and trumpet player Rex Lawson died tragically at the height of his career as the country’s most popular highlife musician. Born in 1935, Lawson became afflicted with smallpox at a young age...

E.T. Mensah

Artist Pages

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...Dubbed the “King of Highlife,” horn player and vocalist E. T. Mensah nurtured the form in the 1940s and 1950s. Born in 1919 in the Gold Coast, now Ghana, Mensah learned to play flute while at the Accra Government School. He went on to play...

Highlife, Igbo

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Volume XII : Genres: Sub-Saharan Africa

Bloomsbury Academic, 2019

Encyclopedia Articles

...Igbo highlife is a popular music style with lyrics in the Igbo language (including its various dialects) as well as in Pidgin English. Themes of songs are drawn from a rich reservoir of Igbo folklore, native philosophies and social...

Concert Party

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Volume XII : Genres: Sub-Saharan Africa

Bloomsbury Academic, 2019

Encyclopedia Articles

...In Ghana, concert party refers to a variety show consisting of live dance band music, stand-up and sketch comedy punctuated with songs (often parodies), and a melodramatic musical play peppered with farcical situations and slapstick antics....

Highlife

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Volume XII : Genres: Sub-Saharan Africa

Bloomsbury Academic, 2019

Encyclopedia Articles

...Highlife is a West African urban popular dance music that utilizes African rhythms, melodies and languages and is played by brass bands, guitar bands and dance bands. It first developed in southern Ghana during the nineteenth and early...

Fela Kuti

Artist Pages

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...The Nigerian multi-instrumentalist, Afro-beat bandleader, and activist Fela Kuti brought the sound of radical African jazz to a global audience. He was born in Nigeria in 1938 to an upper middle-class, politically active family. His mother,...

Highlife, Yorùbá

Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World Volume XII : Genres: Sub-Saharan Africa

Bloomsbury Academic, 2019

Encyclopedia Articles

...While Islamic-influenced genres such as fújì, àpàlà, sákárà and wákà and Christian-influenced jùjú are genuinely indigenous popular music genres of the Yorùbá of Nigeria, the same cannot be said of highlife. As one of Africa’s most popular...