Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Osita Osadebe)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe
Birth nameStephen Osita Osadebe
Also known asOsadebe, The Doctor of Hypertension
Born(1936-03-17)17 March 1936
Atani, Colony of Nigeria
OriginAtani, Nigeria
Died11 May 2007(2007-05-11) (aged 71)
St. Mary's Hospital Waterbury, Connecticut, United States
GenresIgbo Highlife
Occupation(s)singer, songwriter, record producer
Years active1958–2007
LabelsPolygram Records Nigeria
Associated actsThe Empire Rhythm Orchestra, Prince Nico Mbarga, Rex Lawson, Celestine Ukwu, Eddie Okonta, Victor Olaiya, Fred Coker, Victor Uwaifo
WebsiteChief Osita at Calabash music

Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe (March 17, 1936[1] – May 11, 2007),[2] often referred to as just Osadebe, was a Nigerian highlife musician from Atani. During his career spanning over four decades, he became one of the best known musicians of Igbo highlife. His best-known hit was the 1984 single "Osondi Owendi", which established him as a leader in the highlife genre and was one of Nigeria's most popular records ever.[3]

Biography[edit]

Osadebe was born in March 1939 in the Igbo town of Atani in Southeastern Nigeria. He came from a line of singers and dancers in Igboland. His genre, Highlife, encompassed Igbo and traditional 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.[2]

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.[4] A prolific composer, Osadebe released his first album in 1958, and went on to write over 500 songs; half of which were released commercially.[2] After stints with the Stephen Amache Band and the Central Dance Band in around 1964,[4] Osadebe struck out as a bandleader with his group the Sound Makers.[5]

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 were usually the main topics of his commentaries. He sang in English, pidgin English and Igbo.[6] Osadebe often extended his tracks for his audience's enjoyment, allowing room for 'people on the dance floor' to indulge in the songs.[2] His type of music is intensely rhythmic that one finds it difficult not move the body. It is hypnotic and mesmering which keeps one dancing with the rich tone and sounds.[7]

Osadebe succeeded in breaking away from the conventional big band format established by the pioneers of the music, a format that favored 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.[4]

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.[2] 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 albums is Kedu America.[2]

Osita Osadebe died in St. Mary's Hospital Waterbury, Connecticut on 11 May 2007 after suffering from severe respiratory difficulties.[3]

Life[edit]

His parents' names were Dennis Obi Osadebe and Iyom Nwanjiego-Uzoka Osadebe.

In 1960, Osadebe interrupted his music career and studied economics in the Soviet Union until 1962. During the Nigerian Civil War, he temporarily fled to the South of the country, but was able to continue his career successfully.

He earned the nickname "the Doctor of Hypertension" in reference to "the healing powers of his music".[6] His music combines Highlife with musical forms of the Igbo people from Nigeria. In addition to grip percussion, guitars and wind instruments dominated his music. Occasionally, saxophone solos can also be heard. He also integrated rhythms such also merengue and rumba into his music.

Osadebe often stretched the length of his songs to give the listener more time to dance. He described his music with the following words:

Two personalities greatly respected and sought after during those highlife days – the vocalist and guitar player. The guitarist provided palm wine chords which held the orchestra together and also indulged in interminably long guitar solos that kept dancers on the floor [for] long periods of time.

He was the first to include critical elements in his famous album "Osondi Owendi" which was the most successful song ever released in Nigeria.

In the late 1980s, Osadebe withdrew increasingly from the music business. In 1995, he went on his first tour in the USA. His album Kedu America from 1996 was considered one of his best.

In Nigeria especially among the Igbo people, Osadebe is regarded as an idol and as the "Elder Statesman" of Highlife music. The State honored Osadebe with the Order of the Niger (OON). The performing musicians of Nigeria named him the best Highlife artist of the year in 1988.

In addition to his music career, he married five women at the same time, and had seven or more children with them and also ran his own hotel.

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)/"Egwu Amala"/"Ndubusi"
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 Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1975 (POLP 001)
  • Osadebe In London — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian 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 Nigerian 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 Nigerian SoundMakers International, 1979 (POLP 032)
  • Agbalu Aka Azo 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 Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1982 (POLP 101)
  • Unubi Top Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1984 (SPOSA 006)
  • Makojo — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1985 (POLP 125)
  • Nwanneka Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1986 (SPOSA 008)
  • Peoples Club Of Nigeria Special — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1987 (SPOSA 010)
  • Ife Onye Metalu — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1987 (POLP 165)
  • Ana Masi Ife Uwa — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1988 (POLP 194)
  • Nigeria Go Better — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1988 (POLP 184)
  • Eji - Keme Uwa — Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe & His Nigerian Sound Makers International, 1992 (JNLP 009)
  • Late Sam Okwaraji[Polp 245 -Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1990
  • Ezi Oyi Amaka[Polp 232]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1990
  • Ndi Ochongonoko[Polp 144]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1986
  • Onyiewe Ewerato {Polp 008]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1983
  • Ofe Di Ufo [Agb 001]-Chief Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1981
  • Akwa-Etiti social club[SPOSA 005]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1985
  • Osondi Owendi [Polp 120]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1984
  • Onye Atumuna [Polp 058]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1991
  • Onye Amamife[PMCD 024]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1994
  • Kedu America [XENO 4044]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1996
  • Ozonkemadu [SPOSA 012]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe And his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1987
  • Ife Chukwu Kanma [KMLP 001]-Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe his Nigerian Soundmakers International, 1991
  • Ndia na Ndia [Polp 233]-chief Stephen Osita Osadebe and his Soundmakers International, 2004

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kedu America (Liner notes). Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe. 1996. Retrieved May 3, 2021.CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  2. ^ 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 January 29, 2013. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  3. ^ a b "Nigeria's Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe dead". United Press International. May 19, 2007. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  4. ^ a b c Idonije, Benson. "Obituary" (May 2007) Nigerian Guardian
  5. ^ "Biography of Stephen Osita Osadebe" Nigerian Biography
  6. ^ a b Stewart, Jocelyn Y. (19 May 2007). "Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe, 71; a giant of African highlife music". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  7. ^ Nickson, Chris (2020). "Editorial Reviews". www.amazon.com. Retrieved 2020-10-18.