May 06, 2011


I was happy to read this article about the celebration of the great Victor Olaiya's eightieth birtday. Happy, because at least one of my musical heroes has reached the age of eighty. And also happy, because he has not done so in total obscurity, forgotten by generations that have never heard the truly miraculous highlife this man has produced. And certainly also happy, because it provides me with another opportunity to share some more of his music with you!

Here in the Netherlands we are enjoying another patch of splendid weather, which makes this music even more appropriate. But with a bit of imagination it also works with the worst storm and rain.

This is music which will melt even the coldest soul, which will comfort the inconsolable.

All seven tracks are jewels, but my personal favourites are "Laba Laba", a brilliant example of Nigerian highlife at its very best, Kendy Adex*'s "Ije Jemila", music to lie down and dream away, and especially "Iyawo Patako", a seemingly unpretentious masterpiece with an almost unbelievable durability, a song which has over the last 25 years sounded fresh and has never failed to move me every time I heard it.

But I also love the trumpet and the singing (by the master himself) in "Moonlight Highlife" and in the opening "All Stars Invitation" (great bit of trumpet playing after 2'30!).
With "So Fun Mi" and "Me Fe Mu'Yan" (mentioned in the article I referred to at the beginning of this post) I can't help thinking I am missing most of the song because the emphasis appears to be on the lyrics. But I realise this is just my own inadequacy in not understanding the language...

Polygram POLP 073

PS: Another article about Olaiya´s birthday can be found here.

*who - as far as I know - is also a trumpet player.


moos said...

absolutely delicious material Stefan, thanks. did you find the Groove's very first post ?

Anonymous said...


zim said...

it is nice celebratng a birthday rather than the passing away of a musical hero - one question why "evil" genius? is it because his trumpet playing is diabolically good?

Anonymous said...

and i believe he i still holding forth with his sons at the stadium hotel in lagos every weekend....or at least was up until a few years ago. i saw him there with one samy ben redjeb in 2002. a great night, and he has such presence.

David said...

Lovely laid-back highlife - thank you!!