List of Igbo highlife musicians - Top 7

List of Igbo highlife musicians - Top 7

This genre was a very popular style of Nigerian music in the 1950s. This music style is still well-known and many popular Igbo highlife musicians perform around Africa and Europe. Checkout names of Igbo highlife musicians who made this genre popular.

Igbo musicians

Top Igbo highlife musicians

  • Osita Osadebe
Osita Osadebe


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The full name is Chief Stephen Osita Osadebe. The musician was born in Atani, on March 1936. He was highly popular and even titled a high chief in Igboland. He is considered the father of Igbo highlife music. Stephen Osita was a singer, record producer, songwriter, and in 1958 he released his first album.

Later he founded his record label "Polygram Records Nigeria." During the career, Osita Osadebe wrote over 500 songs. The most notable album of the singer is “Kedu America.” Chief Osadebe passed away on 11 May 2007. He is still considered as one of the best known Igbo highlife musicians.

  • Oliver De Coque
Oliver De Coque


The musician was born on April 14, 1947. Oliver De Coque is known as one of the most famous Igbo Highlife singers, musicians, songwriters, and guitarists. Oliver De Coque created the “Ogene sound super of Africa” band. They combined traditional Igbo music and modern highlife style. The musician died on June 21, 2008.

  • Dr. Sir Warrior
Dr. Sir Warrior


Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna was born in 1947 in Imo State. The musician was leader of the Oriental Brothers. This band was highly famous in Igbo highlife music for many years. See also: The most beautiful female musician in Nigeria.

Dr. Sir Warrior started his performing career at the age of 11 and at 16 years old he achieved fame. The Oriental Brothers were very important and supportive of Igbo people during the civil war. Dr. Sir Warrior based his music on Oyorima concept, “Oyorima” is an Igbo word that means a clean feeling of rhythmic movement. The musician passed away in June 1999.

  • Jim Rex Lawson
Jim Rex Lawson


The musician was also known as Cardinal Rex. He played with many famous musicians of the genre. He recorded many songs with Majors Band. Lawson passed away in 1971 in a car accident. His band continued to play after his death.

  • Celestine Ukwu
Celestine Ukwu


Another star among Igbo musicians was born in 1940. This Igbo highlife musician is mostly known for his songs: "Igede", "Ije Enu" and "Money Palava". Celestine was born in Enugu, Enugu State, his family, was music-oriented. In 1962 he joined the band "Paradise Rhythm Orchestra". In 1967 Celestine Ukwu formed his own band Celestine Ukwu & His Music Royals of Nigeria. After the civil war, the musician formed another band Celestine Ukwu & His Philosophers National. Celestine Ukwu passed away on May 7, 1977.

  • Prince Nico Mbarga
Prince Nico Mbarga


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He was born in Abakaliki, Nigeria in 1950 His most famous hit-song is "Sweet Mother", the song was recorded with Rocafil Jazz. Nico Mbarga played on many music instruments. His debut was in 1970, he played in the band Melody Orchestra. Mbarga created a unique hybrid of Congolese and Igbo guitar playing and played an important role in the development of African popular music. 

Nico Mbarga formed his band Rocafil Jazz for regular performances in Plaza Hotel (Onitsha). The musician also performed with London-based band the Ivory Coasters.

  • Bright Chimezie
Bright Chimezie


The date of his birth is 1 October 1960. This musician is considered as a founder of the new style of Nigerian music called Zigima Sound. In this style, he mixed Igbo highlife, traditional Nigerian music and chanted vocals. The lyrics of his songs were focused on social issues in a rather funny way.

Igbo highlife style

This style of music considers as a modern genre that combines Igbo traditional music and highlife style. It was created in the 1950s in the southeast region of Nigeria. It is music primary based on guitar, with a blend of vocal rhythms and horns. The songs are mostly in Igbo language with some Pidgin English.

READ ALSO: List of top Nigerian gospel singers

Source: Igbo highlife music


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