Vanguard (Lagos)

25 January 2013

Nigeria: Remembering Famous Nigerian Musicians Who Have Died (II)

Photo: Fela Kuti/Facebook
Fela Kuti

Many had admired their talents, others have envied them. It was all for daring to be what their peers were dreaming to be. Unfortunately, they were suddenly snatched away by death, leaving behind deep pains, and anguish. Ironically, these famous musicians through their works, are even becoming more celebrated today than when they were alive. WG imagines what they would have done more, if they had lived...

Christy Essien Igbokwe (November 11,1960-June 30,2011) Nigeria's Lady of Song

Although she had retired from singing long before she bowed out of the stage two years ago, Nigeria's Lady of Songs, Christy Essien Igbokwe remains evergreen. She still would have been relevant as far as the nation's music industry is concerned. While she lived, she put the country's name on the world music map with her evergreen "Seun Rere."

As the first female president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Christy wouldn't have folded her arms, and watched helplessly, as the musicians' house becomes a shadow of its old self. Also, she would have been making her meaningful contribution towards the growth of the industry. At least, like Onyeka Onwenu, she'd have released new album such that will draw heavily on the culture and tradition of her Ibibio nation.

Most of her evergreen albums such as 'Patience', 'Time Waits for No One'(both 1978), 'One Understanding' (1979), 'Give Me A Chance' (1980), and 'Ever Liked My Person' (1981) remains her best LP till date.

Prince Twins Seven Seven (May 3,1944 - June 16,2011)

Africa's Picasso

Although, Prince Twins Seven Seven was more known in the visual art circle, than he was celebrated in the music industry. His presence would have made the difference in both professions if he had not transited into ancestry. A painter and sculptor of international repute, Prince Twins Seven Seven's decision to go into music vividly redefined his person as an all-round entertainer.

He was an artist, who in Africa, did exactly what (Pablo) Picasso did in his place in Spain and what (Vassily) Kandinsky did in his place in Russia. Characterized as a contemporary African artist, Prince Twins who was born Bamidele Olaniyi rank among the modern arts greats in Africa. No doubt, he would have remained so, if he had lived.

An artist who created a unique body of imaginative mythical African works and in terms of Contemporary African Art, he was a pioneer and an artist of his time. He was certainly one of the biggest hitters in the African Art World and his works spoke volumes for Africa and today. His works would have perhaps, continue to fascinate and delight both the art and music lovers in the country.

Chief Dr. Oliver De Coque Nigeria's King of Guitar

Nigeria's guitarist King,Chief Oliver de Coque, born Oliver Sunday Akanite was one of Africa's most prolific recording artists before he bowed out of the stage few years ago. Like Osita Osadebe, Coque was a source of inspiration and influence to the young highlife musicians in the country.

After releasing his debut album, Messiah Messiah in 1977, Coque took the music scene by storm when he recorded no fewer than 73 albums in quick succession. His dance-inspiring "Ogene" style of highlife, which blends modern high life and traditional Igbo music, has produced such hits as "Biri Ka Mbiri," "Ana Enwe," "Naukwa Mmwanwu," and "Identity," which remained on Radio Nigeria 2's Top Ten throughout most of 1981.

Though he's no more today, Oliver de Coque is still alive in the minds of fans and those who appreciated his kind of music. Being a committed singer, and a source of inspiration to so many young and upcoming musicians, Oliver de Coque would have continued to make waves, attending shows, concerts and performing at birthday parties, wedding and funeral ceremonies.

Da Grin (21 October 1987 - 22 April 2010) The people's rapper

Until his death in 2010, Olaitan Olaonipekun, popularly known as Da Grin's music was not as popular as he appeared to be today. Immediately after his demise, his music caught fire, and today, everyone is talking about Da Grin's music. An artiste with a huge talent, Da Grin was reputed for rapping in his native Yoruba language and scantly in English Language.

If he had survived the auto-crash, which eventually claimed his life, on the 22nd of April, 2010, Da Grin would have become one of the mega stars we have around today. He connected with his fans on such a real level. His demise, which marked the end of his career, left a vacuum that is yet to be filled by anyone.

One is sure that he would have won more laurels for himself as well as released more hit albums that would take the nation's music industry by storm. Perhaps, he would have joined the 'big boys' acquiring properties within and outside Lagos environs.

While some of his fans believed that Da Grin was "a legend", many others saw him as "a mentor of all time" whom death snatched from them.

"Like a fire that burnt through the field of an industry called music; particularly the rap genre, Da Grin came, he saw, but he never conquered death. For the short time he had reigned, where even legends strive to; he created a style that none could imitate; touched the lives of music lovers like no one else; and gave hope to the teeming youths that it is possible to make it in this country if you got style. But, he went up in a blaze of glory when we least expected it at 23."What else to say...

MC Loph Osondi Owendi exponent...

Rapper, Nwaozo Obiajulu a.k.a MC Loph who came into the limelight with the release of a remix of the Osita Osadebe's hit song, "Osondi Owendi" few years ago died in his prime.

He had a tragic car accident which claimed his life, alongside his only sister, Chinwe on 14th of September, 2011, while on his way to Enugu for his traditional wedding. If he were still around, MC Loph would be recording and doing concert tours like his contemporaries, Flavour, Mr. Raw, Bracket and others. The rapper for anything would have become a blessing to his aged mother, wife and his fatherless son.

Perhaps, prior to his demise, the hardworking musician completed recording of a duet with Faze in a song titled " I know what the girls want. By now, the album would have been making waves in the market.

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