Dr Sir Warrior

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Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna (1947, Imo State, Nigeria – 2 June 1999), alias Dr. Sir Warrior, was the leader of the Oriental Brothers International Band which was famous in the Nigerian Igbo highlife music scene for several decades.[1] He performed primarily in Nigeria, as well as performing internationally in places such as London and the United States of America.

Musical career[edit]

Dr. Sir Warrior was able to transform his performance into a successful career in the 1970s when he joined the Oriental Brothers International Band. The band later splintered, leading to Prince Ichita & the Great Oriental Brothers International Band, Oriental Brothers International, and then the original Dr. Sir Warrior & His Oriental Brothers International, simply called The Oriental Original. He had about 12 platinum and 10 gold hits in his career.[2][unreliable source?] The Oriental Brothers International Band was the first Nigerian highlife boy band formed after the devastating three years Nigeria civil war that ruined the Eastern Nigeria where the boys hailed from. Hence their name "Oriental" having come from the east. They started as an in-house band at Easy Going Hotels in Owerri owned by Chief James "Ewele" Azubuike. The Oriental Brothers were originally five members namely: Godwin Kabaka Opara, Ferdinand Dansatch Emeka Opara, Livinus Akwilla Alaribe, Fred "Ichita" Ahumaraeze and Christogonus Ezebuiro "Warrior" Obinna. The first split within the group occurred in 1977 when founding member and the first leader of the band, Godwin Opara left to start his own bands after a dispute under the moniker Kabaka International Guitar Band and was replaced with Aloysius Anyanwu, a former guitarist with Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe's Nigerian Sound Makers Band and a founding member of the Ikenga Super Stars band after they left Osadebe's band. Later Ichita and Livinus Akwila Alaribe equally left the band to form another group called the Great Oriental Band. In 1978 a mistrust and copyright issue ensued between Dansatch/Warrior on one side and Aloysius Anyanwu on the other which ended in a libel action.The acrimonious dispute led Aloysius Anyanwu too leaving the band to go solo as Aloy Anyanwu and His State Brothers Band. So that left only Dansatch and Warrior as the only remaining founding members. They recruited freelance musicians around Owerri and some migrant musicians from Ghana to relaunch the band after many exists. They had hit after hit after this reshuffling. Yet again dispute emerged between Dansatch and Warrior over the future shape of the band regarding artistic style. So after their 1980 hit album "Obi Nwanne" both men parted ways. Warrior retained the core of the band's musicians and named himself "Dr Sir Warrior & His Oriental Brothers International Band. While Dansatch continued as Oriental Brothers International Band led by Ferdinand Emeka Opara. Though each of the groups had their distinct sound, they all shared a passion for blending Eastern Africa region's Congolese guitar rhythm blended with traditional Igbo percussional rhythms. According to the Igbo magazine Kwenu, "the Oriental Brothers played a very important spiritual role in keeping many Igbo sane. They were the pride of a people traumatized by a war so vicious."[citation needed]

Musical style[edit]

Combining Igbo vocals with deft guitar work and a solid rhythm section, Warrior created a unique style of music that for many people is the definitive sound of highlife music.[citation needed] Warrior was one of the most influential musicians to come out of Igboland.[citation needed] He started playing the guitar in the 1960s.He always had a sense of revolution, as he created a brand of highlife that is Igbo at the core, and at the same time universal in taste. He introduced the Oyorima concept, which is an Igbo word that means a refined feeling of rhythmic movement and balance.[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Dr. Sir Warrior was from Umuhu Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo state Nigeria. His name, Obinna, means "Father's Heart" (God's Mind).[3] Dr Sir Warrior began performing at the age of 11, when joined a men's choral group specialising in a music form known as Èsè. By 16, he had achieved fame for his voice and performance of Èsè music.[citation needed]

Family[edit]

Dr Sir Warrior was married and had five children (three boys & two girls). His first son had said of him "He did not allow us to get interested in music. He wanted us to finish our education first. He would always emphasize that education was the best legacy, other things could follow later".[4] The younger Ajuzieogu knew that he would one day be a highlife musician like his dad. They both said, "As long as we intend to pursue music as career we will still abide with our father's wish". His legacy was summarised by Oliver De Coque, who in paying tribute to Dr. Sir Warrior, said, "He was a very good and amiable person. We have lost such a genius in highlife."[1]

Discography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Duru, Ben. "Musicians, Others Remember Sir Warrior". Post Express. 2 July 1999.
  2. ^ Obi, Felix. "Whither Nigerian Music?", nigeriaWorld.com. 27 February 2005. Retrieved on 12 January 2006, from .
  3. ^ Meaning of Obinna in Nigerian.name
  4. ^ Alabi, Garba. "Sir Warrior Sings Again Through Sons". Guardian. 6 October 1999.

Further reading[edit]

  • Opara, D. Heavy on the Highlife: Nigeria's Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International. New York: Original, 1990.
  • Wale, P. The Highlife Years: History of Highlife Music in Nigeria. Ibadan: Effective, 1995.