Thursday, October 1, 2009

Happy Independence Day to Nigeria

Nigeria, officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria was declared and recognized as an independent republic, breaking away from rule by the United Kingdom on October 1, 1960. Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, the eighth most populous country in the world, and the most populous country in the world in which the majority of the population is black.

Today i'm paying tribute to one of Nigeria's sons, Chief Oliver De Coque, born Oliver Sunday Akanite on April 14, 1947 in Ezinifite, Anambra State. De Coque, a prolific platinum selling guitarist who popularised the "Ogene" dance inspiring style of Nigerian Highlife, recorded no fewer than 73 albums in his life time. Some of his major hits include "Biri Ka Mbiri, and "Identity."

De Coque had a music career that spanned over four decades, gaining him many awards and honors. In 1995 the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi crowned him the King of Highlife music. From a 2005 interview, here's his take on how he thinks music should be:

"When a musician is cordial and peaceful, the message comes. It has been so for me. I make elaborations in my message particularly so that it will be explosive and the audience will understand it clearly. I let people know that in this world, what must be, must be, so long as they believe in God. So nobody can erase his destiny no matter the type of soap or sponge he uses."

I had the privilege to open for Mr. De Coque in Los Angeles in 2005.

Chief Oliver De Coque
April 14, 1947 - June 21, 2008

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