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Highlife music legend, Dr. Victor Olaiya is dead

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By Mutiat Lawore

Highlife music legend, Victor Abimbola Olaiya,  is dead.

He was aged 89 years old.

Born in 31 December 1930, the late musician  often referred to as Dr. Victor Olaiya, was a Nigerian trumpeter who plays in the highlife style.

Though extremely famous in Nigeria during the 1950s and early 1960s, Olaiya received little recognition outside his native country. Alhaji Alade Odunewu of the Daily Times described him as “The Evil Genius of Highlife.”

Olaiya’s music bridges between Ghanaian highlife and what would become Afrobeat.

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His musical style was influenced by James Brown, with horn parts harmonised in Brown’s style, as opposed to the mostly unison lines of Afrobeat. The music includes the swinging percussion of Tony Allen, but not the syncopated style that Allen later pioneered.

Victor Olaiya released an album with Ghanaian highlife musician E. T. Mensah. Both the drummer Tony Allen and vocalist Fela Kuti played with Olaiya and went on to achieve individual success.

In July 2013, Victor Olaiya released a music video remix of Baby Jowo (Baby Mi Da)with 2face Idibia and was received with much acclaim.

Details later…

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