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Highlife music legend, Victor Olaiya is dead

Simiyu

Feb. 12, 2020

Nigeria's highlife music legend, Victor Olaiya is dead.
The Nation reports that the death of the veteran highlife music star was announced by his record label, Evergreen Music Company. According to its managing director, it was regrettable to announce the passing away of the last man standing in its record label.
"The entire music world wish to announce the death of a Legend of Highlife music, One of the last man standing, the last of the original Dr Victor Abimbola Olaiya OON. We pray that the soul of the Doyen of highlife music finds repose with his creator while wishing the family and entire music community the fortitude to bear this irreplaceable loss," he said.
Victor Abimbola Olaiya OON died at the age of 79. 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. [Jaguda]
Victor Abimbola Olaiya OON died at the age of 89. 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.
Veteran Dr Victor Olaiya
Olaiya instead pursued a career as a musician, to the disapproval of his parents. He played with the Sammy Akpabot Band , was leader and trumpeter 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. [TheGuardian]
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.
Olaiya renamed his band to the All-Stars Band when they played the 1963 International Jazz Festival in Czechoslovakia . He was survived by many wives, children, and grandchildren.
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