Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe

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Chief Stephen O. Osadebe
Chief Osadebe.jpg
Background information
Birth name Stephen Osita Osadebe
Also known as Osadebe, The Doctor of Hypertension
Born (1936-03-00)March 1936
Origin Atani, Anambra, Nigeria
Died 11 May 2007(2007-05-11) (aged 71)
St. Mary's Hospital Waterbury, Connecticut, United States
Genres Igbo Highlife
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter, record producer
Years active 1958–2007
Labels Polygram Records Nigeria
Associated acts The Empire Rhythm Orchestra, Prince Nico Mbarga, Rex Lawson, Celestine Ukwu, Eddie Okonta, Victor Olaiya, Fred Coker, Victor Uwaifo
Website Chief Osita at Calabash music

Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe (March 1936 – May 11, 2007),[1] often referred to as just Osadebe, was an Igbo Nigerian highlife musician from Atani. His career spanned over 40 years, and he is one of the best known Igbo highlife musicians. His best-known hit was the 1984 single "Osondi Owendi" (Igbo: One man's meat is another man's poison.), which established him as a leader in the highlife genre and was one of Nigeria's most popular records ever.[2]

Biography[edit]

In March 1936, Osadebe was born in Igbo town of Atani in Southeastern Nigeria. He came from a line of singers and dancers in Igboland. His genre, Highlife, encompassed Igbo musical elements. Along with this, calypso, samba, bolero, rumba, jazz and waltz were also present in Osadebe's musical style. It was in his high school years in Onitsha, a major commercial city near Atani, that Osadebe grew interested in music.[1]

Osadebe started his career singing at nightclubs in Lagos in the southwestern region of Nigeria. He had been a part of The Empire Rhythm Orchestra, led by E. C. Arinze in which he had learned much of his music skills. [3] A prolific composer, Osadebe released his first album in 1958, and went on to write over 500 songs; half of which were released commercially.[1] After stints with the Stephen Amache Band the Central Dance Band, in around 1964[3] Osadebe struck out as a bandleader with his group the Sound Makers.[4]

As he became better established, Osadebe's style matured to include social commentary, similar to, but not as confrontational as Fela Kuti. Personal trials and tribulations was usually the main topic of his commentaries. Osadebe often extended his tracks for his audiences enjoyment, allowing room for 'people on the dance floor' to indulge in the songs.[1]

"Osadebe succeeded in breaking away from the conventional big band format established by the pioneers of the music, a format that favoured melodic progressions that were in the common meter, church hymnal tradition. He succeeded in completely transforming highlife into the call-and-response pattern of African music."[3]

Following the Nigerian Civil War in the late 1960s, the massive exodus of the eastern peoples of Nigeria (especially the Igbo) out of western Nigeria had caused the death of the Highlife's prominence in the then capital, Lagos. During the war and after the war Osadebe maintained his scheduled live performances. Jùjú music and later Afrobeat took precedence in Lagos, and in the 1970s James Brown and various other music forms became popular in the city. In this same decade Osadebe's career had reached its zenith.[1] After turning 50 in 1986, Osadebe started to give priority to fatherhood and gave more of his time to his son Obiora and his other children from his wives. One of Osita Osadebe's last album's is Kedu America.[1]

Osita Osadebe died in St. Mary's Hospital Waterbury, Connecticut on 11 May 2007 after suffering from severe respiratory difficulties.[2]

Discography[edit]

Singles
  • "United Nigeria" / "Okpaku Elieli" — Stephen Osadebay and Nigerian Soundmakers, 1962-63 (HMV NH37)
  • "Sylvanu Olympio" / "Ifeayi Chukwu" — Stephen Osadebay and Nigerian Soundmakers, 1962-63 (HMV NH41)
  • "Monkey De Work Baboon De Chop" / "Nwezigbo Omume" — Commander In Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers, 1971 (6259085 PE)
Albums
  • Highlife Parade — Commander-in-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers, 1970 (PR 6386 009}
  • Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers — 1972 (PL 6361 024)
  • Commander In Chief Stephen Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers — 1972 (PL 6361 015)
  • Osadebe '75 — Commander-In-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1975 (POLP 001)
  • Osadebe In London — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1975 (POLP 003)
  • Osadebe '76 — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1975 (POLP 004)
  • Osadebe '76 Vol. 2 — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1976 (POLP 007)
  • Chief Osadebe '77 Vol.1 — 1977 (POLP 010)
  • Osadebe '78 — 1977 (POLP 017)
  • Osadebe '78 Vol.2 — 1978 (POLP 024)
  • Arum Achoro Nsogbu — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe And His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1979 (POLP 032)
  • Agbalu Aka No Ani — 1980 (POLP 052)
  • Osadebe In 80's - Oyolima Vol. 1 — 1980 (POLP 048)
  • Onu Kwulunjo, Okwue Nma — 1981 (POLP 056)
  • Onye Bili - Ibeya Ebili — 1981 (POLP 058)
  • Nke Onye Diliya — 1981 (POLP 060)
  • Ogbahu Akwulugo — 1982 (POLP 077)
  • Onye Ije Anatago — 1982 (POLP 074)
  • Ndi Dum Tufu Dum Cho '83 — 1982 (SPOSA 002)
  • Igakam Ogonogo — 1982 (POLP 089)
  • Onye Achonam — 1982 (POLP 075)
  • Ok'puzo Enweilo — 1982 (POLP 092)
  • Onye Kwusia Olieonuya — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe And His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1983 (POLP 101)
  • Unubi Top Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1984 (SPOSA 006)
  • Makojo — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1985 (POLP 125)
  • Nwanneka Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1986 (SPOSA 008)
  • Peoples Club Of Nigeria Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1987 (SPOSA 010)
  • Ife Onye Metalu — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1987 (POLP 165)
  • Ana Masi Ife Uwa — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1988 (POLP 194)
  • Nigeria Go Better — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1988 (POLP 184)
  • Eji - Keme Uwa — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 1992 (JNLP 009)
Compilation
  • Sound Time — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigeria Sound Makers International, 2001 (ID495001)
Contributing artist

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe Passes Away On May 11, 2007". Global Rhythm Magazine News. May 15, 2007. Archived from the original on February 29, 2012. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  2. ^ a b "Nigeria's Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe dead". United Press International. May 19, 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-05. 
  3. ^ a b c Idonije, Benson. "Obituary" (May 2007) Nigerian Guardian
  4. ^ "Biography of Stephen Osita Osadebe" Nigerian Biography