Dr. Victor Olaiya - Baby Jowo / Ere Aladun (Audio)
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Uploaded on Feb 15, 2009
Artist : Dr. Victor Olaiya
Album : The Best Of Dr. Victor Olaiya
Genre : Nigeria Highlife
Label : Premier Music
Victor Olaiya: 50 years of ingenious highlife on stage -
By Richard Eghaghe, Entertainment Correspondent (Daily Independent Online.)
A native of Ondo State, Dr Victor Olaiya was born on December 31, 1931, in Calabar, Cross River State, where his parents, Alfred Omolona Olaiya and Bathsheba Owolabi Motajo, had gone to settle. The 20th child of a family of 24, Olaiya speaks Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba fluently.
He took to music at a tender age, while equally pursuing his education. Young Olaiya had his first feel of playing music at the African School, Onitsha, where he was exposed to playing such instruments as Bb Flat Bombardon and Eb French Horn.
He moved to the commercial city of Lagos on completion of his secondary education and took to full time music. He played with such bands like the Sammy Akpabot Sextet and the Old Lagos City Orchestra.
The turning point in his music career came when young Victor broke away from the popular Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra, where he was leader and trumpeter of the second band, to start his own band, Cool Cats, in 1954he made his debut that same year. Ever since, there has been no stopping Olaiya from blowing his trumpet and making the waves with highlife music.
His band gained national recognition when it was selected to play at the state ball, which highlighted major activities of Queen Elizabeth of Englands visit to Nigeria in 1956. His Cool Cats band was also the sole band chosen to play at Nigerias Miss Independence zonal competitions in 16 centres nationwide. On the independence D-day, his band also emerged as the sole band to perform at the state ball to mark the day, attended by Princess Alexandria, who represented the Queen.
The band was also on hand to perform at the state banquet, when Nigeria adopted a republican constitution in 1963. The band was again there to share the stage with the great jazzist, Satchmo Armstrong of blessed memory.
Olaiyas band was in hot demand, essentially for its discipline, high sense of commitment and outstanding performances.
Quite unbelievably, Olaiya rose to the rank of a lieutenant colonel (honorary) in the Nigerian Army when his band was commissioned to play at the various war fronts, during the Nigerian Civil War of 1967-70. He was also drafted to perform for the troops on the United Nations mission to the Congo (now Zaire) crisis.
He was awarded the honorary doctorate degree in African music when he led his band, which he eventually changed from Cool Cats to All Stars Band, to represent Africa at an International Jazz Festival in Prague, Czechoslovakia. He has not only shared same stage with highlife music giant, E. T. Mensah of Ghana, he released a joint album with him, which was a best seller with the Ghanaian highlife idol.
Apart from hitting top music chat with series of his album releases, Olaiya was also engaged in the thriving business of importation and distribution of musical instruments and accessories, which spans the entire West African sub-region. He equally established the ultra-modern Stadium Hotel in Surulere, which today provides an outlet for a good number of Nigerian artistes to showcase their acts just as it has provided the popular acclaimed highlife evil genius a convenient venue to thrill his teaming fans with regular weekend gigs.
A talented sports man and lover of pets, Olaiya was in 1990 conferred with the fellowship of the Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria and another doctorate degree (honorary) by the City University of Los Angeles, California, USA. He was former president of the Nigerian Union of Musicians (NUM) and still played his highlife gigs to thrill at his Stadium Hotel complex.
Release Date: July 29, 2003
The undisputed king of Nigerian highlife....
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