Welcome to the Highlifeturntable. The purpose of this blog is to provide a way for people to listen to rare highlife music from Ghana and Nigeria. I plan to post tracks from my private collection along with a little commentary on what I know about the artist and what I like about the LP.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Ogbeingbene Special - Professor I.K. Belemu

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track OgBeingbene Special by Professor I.K. Belemu from his Felix Record release Ogbeingbene Special.

I have a few records by Professor Belemu.  According to am interesting article by Sunday Rudolph in the dawnjournal.com:

The owigiri dance originated in 1985 through a particular music composed by a foremost  Izon musician in Bayelsa State in Nigeria called I. K. Belemu. Although, I. K. Belemu did not invent the owigiri dance style, his song, which was responsible for the creation was more of call to dance.

Randolph goes onto to say:

According to a traditionalist in Izonland, Emeka Odogu, the owigiri dance captures the lifestyle and mood of the Izon man in his daily activities. He states further that: The owigiri dance is a way the Izon man expresses his feelings at a particular time. The dance has a variety of dance steps that will 
suit any music, so the dancer can pick any dance step that can indicate his state of mind at any point in time. if he is happy there is the bright and energetic “agene” dance step to indicate this and if he is unhappy he can dance the slow and smooth “abalande” dance movement to match his mood…

The upbeat vocals and tight guitar playing certainly create a very dance able sound.  Check out the way Professor Belemu's vocals open up the song and the fluidity of the rhythm section throughout the song.  I hope you like.

For those interested in reading more on Owigri dancing please see

I am sorry it has been so long since I posted anything new, but I spent the summer upgrading my rig and am finally beginning to record again.  I'll be posting some more music shortly.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

King Akido and His Minijis International of Port - Harcourt


For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Owa Qeme aka Mulugo by King Akido and His Minijis International of Port Harcourt.

There was no information about the band, but the horn playing and the vocals really stand out for me. The song starts with a shout out to Port Harcourt and I think they are saying something about "our way".   Punchy and upbeat, the song has several excellent horn blasts and a great guitar line.  Check out the horn section around the 3.30 mark again at the 4.30 mark.    The record was released in 1977.  The song is classified as a Calabari highlife.

Let me know if anyone out there has any additional information.

I hope you like


Sunday, April 27, 2014

J.O. Ubah (alias) Rocky Joe "the world drummer" and his Aniocha Crakas International

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Imem, by J.O. Ubah (alias) Rocky Joe "the world drummer" and his Aniocha Crakas International off an Iyanda release.

The Iyanda label was based in Lagos.   Their releases ran the gamut from strictly social club recordings to more daring afro-psych recordings like this one.  I do not know much about this performer.  While percussion instruments were integral to highlife you rarely see LP's driven by the drumming and where the drummer is also the lead vocalist.

This song is an ibo highlife one where the drums and vocals play off the guitar lines to create a sparse, stripped down, minimalist sound with a repetitive melody,  punctuated by several excellent drum solos. Check out the drumming solo starting around the 4:20 mark and the playing around the 6 minute mark.

An altogether interesting piece.  There was no date on the release, but I would put it somewhere between the early to mid 70's.

I hope you like it


Monday, December 9, 2013

Goddy Ezike and his Black Brothers Band - Obi Ndidi

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Obi Ndidi, by Goddy Ezike and the Black Brothers Band.

John Beadle has some pretty good information on the performer:

Nigerian Godwin Chukuemeka Mbamalu Ezike was born in Umuleri Ameichi, Mbanabor Local Government area of Anambra State.  As a child, he performed traditional Igbo Egwu Ekpili music with his father, Humphrey Obiokwu Ezike.  A former member of the Stephen Osita Osadebe Band, he first came to prominence in the 1970's when he formed his group Ambassador Omajiji, which later changed its name to the Black Brothers Band.

The words Obi Ndidi translates into heart patience.  For me the vocals and the horn playing really stand out against the steady guitar playing. Check out the way the horns just wail at the 5.50 mark.  I hope you like it.

Happy Holidays


For those interested in hearing more of the Black Brothers Band you can purchase a number of reasonably priced CD reissues at this site



Monday, October 21, 2013

P.K. Asare International Band of Ghana. - Who no know, go know

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Who no know, go know, by the P.K. Asare International Band of Ghana.

The cover has seen better days, but the music still shines through.  There was no information on the cover about the performers, but I did see that P.K. Asare was listed as the conga player on the T.O. Jazz LP Welcome Ojukwu and on a number of African Brothers releases.

The song has a lot of nice parts, but the horn playing really sets it apart.  Check out the horns at the beginning and the wicked blast towards the end at the 5.45 mark.  Very fluid and soulful.  The rootsy vocals, especially the interplay between the lead vocalist and the chorus, blend really well with the guitars and percussion. Altogether a solid piece.  

I hope you like it


Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Ogbulie and His Busy Bees

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Ife Love melum, by Sunday Ogbulie and his busy bees.

According to the liner notes:

Christian Iweka Sunday Ogbulie, popularly known as Sunny Milly Tana, is the son of prince, Emma M.C. Ogbulie of Umuezeonu family of Umueze Atani quarter's of Aiam town.  Born in 1958, he joined Chief Commander Stephen Osita Osadebe Nigerian Sound Makers in 1978.

 He recorded his first LP, Eze Afo Julu in 1978.  This was his 2nd record and was recorded in 1980.  Ogbulie saw himself as the 2nd artist, the first being Chief Osadebe, to popularize Ogbara traditional music.

Mr. Ogbulie said " the use of his local language made audiences think more of Ogbaru.   My music is mainly traditional.  I don't abuse people nor boost my ego because my music is becoming the best.  Therefore I am advising my fellow youths in the music scene should regard themselves Talented for no one knows tomorrow.  They should be encouraged"

I like the slow pace at the beginning as each instrument is introduced into the melody.  The horns then open up and introduce the vocals.  The spacey pacing and articulation of the vocals, and the downtempo guitar lines, add a soulfulness to the song that is particularly affecting.  I also liked a number of the horn breaks throughout the song, especially during the last 2 minutes of the songs.   See what you think

I hope you like it


Friday, August 30, 2013

Obiajulum Super Sound Power of Africa - Onyema Ife Onye Bunobi

For the next selection on the Highlife Turntable, I have selected the track Onyema Ife Onye Bunobi by Obiajulum Super Sound Power of Africa off an early 80's Nokwa Studio release.

The word Obiajulu means Contented Heart.  Pat Enebeli was the lead singer. He was a Ukwauni performer and recorded many records for major labels like Odec and OjiKutu and a few others on more obscure labels like Nokwa Sound and Ma-Rex records.

The song has all the components of a great Ukwauni song: introspective vocals, a thready horn and a spacey guitar line.  This song is a little slower in tempo than the music of earlier Ukwauni pioneers like Rogana Ottah or King Ubulu, but is even more vibrant and expressive.  The horn playing is reminiscent of Charles Iwegbue whose trumpet playing in the early 70's was instrumental in creating the modern Ukwauni sound.

From the opening guitar lines the songs floats along as the vocals and horn playing weaves in and out the tune.  There are several great stretches.  Check out the horn playing that starts at the 7.35 mark and the way the vocals and horn play off each other after that. Just beautiful.  There is also some nice guitar work around the 10.45 mark and another sweet horn solo starting at the 12 minute mark.   The vocals at the end are also haunting in their simplicity and grace.  Check out the way the horns fade out the song.  The song really showcases the spirituality Ukwauni artists were striving for.

In a dedication on another release Obiajulu said " This is special advice from the Obiajulu to the people who feel that they are on top, that they should allow the junior ones to grow.  Why? Because a tree cannot make a forest."

 I hope you like the music.