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.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Akashiada International Band led by Pat Enebeli

For the next selection on the Highlife Turntable I have selected the track Odindo Kua Enwe by the Akashiada International Band led by Pat Enebeli off a 1982 release entitled Charity Special.

I do not know much about the Akashiada International Band but the Umu-Akashiada is a sub group of the Ukwauni people in the Ndokwa land.  Akashiada records appears to be a label that was active in the early 80's.  Pat Enebeli went on to become the lead singer for one of my favorite Ukwauni bands Obiajulu and his Sound Power of Africa.

The Ukwauni song is minimalist in structure and focuses on the thready guitar rhythms supporting the lilting vocals of  Pat Enebeli.   I really like the way the guitarist bends the notes and the chorus hovers in the background occasionally joining the lead vocalist.  I think the simplicity of the song is what I find most attractive.  I have been listening to it a lot lately and thought I'd share it to see what you think.

I hope you like it.


Saturday, February 21, 2015

amaica brothers band led by john okpor

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Oh Chukwu Nna by the Amaica Brothers Band led by John Okpor off an O.E.I. Records release.

I've written about John Okpor before.  John Okpor was one of the great Ukwauni vocalists and appears to have had a long and varied career.   I've never heard of the Amaica Brothers Band or this label before I came across this record.

This song appears to be a reworking of the Igbo gospel song Chukwa Nna Mu.  Chukwu in Igbo culture is the source of all the other Igbo gods and controls everything on earth and the spiritual world.  Nna is another word for Fathers.  The song sounds like a praise song to the creator and father: Chukwu.  The label says the song is a Ukwauni Continental Highlife.

The three things that stand out for me are the beauty of the vocals, the simplicity of the guitar lines and the way the percussion instruments keep the tempo moving.  A beautiful little song.

I hope you like it


Friday, February 13, 2015

Chukwuemeka Madukwem and the Big Seven

For the next selection on the Highlife Turntable I have selected the track Onwu Egbuchula Nnem by Chukwuemeka Madukwem and the Big Seven.

I do not know anything about the performer, but the song is off a 1979 Jicco Records Release.  The tune is pretty simple, but the vocals and horn solos give the song a nice laid back quality.  Nothing fancy, but clean and straightforward.  I've been listening to the song the last couple of weeks and thought I'd share it.    I hope you like it.

Let me know if you know anything about the performer or the style of music.



Sunday, November 23, 2014

George L.W. Pepple and his Formby Band - Cyrid Ohonuka

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Cyrid Ohonuka by the George L.W. Pepple and his Formby Band.

This is an Ibo highlife tune from 1977.  There was no information about the performer or the members of the band, but I believe the word Ohonuka means Thank God.  Craig Taylor and Uchenna Ikonne raised the possibility that the Formby band name maybe a tribute to an English Ukelele player George Formby, who was extremely popular in the 30's and 40's in England and Nigeria.

Lately, I have been coming across a lot of this type of music and really enjoying it.  I like the way the drums open up the song and the languid pace of the interplay between the ethereal vocals and guitar playing throughout the song.  Also check out the two great horn breaks at the 4.10 and 8.40 mark.   I found it a very enjoyable piece.  I hope you like it.

Please let me know if anyone knows anything more about this band or the style of music.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Obidike international band led by Vincent Okoroego

For the next selection on the highlife turntable I have selected the track Iwe Nwanne by the Obidike International Band led by Vincent Okoroego.  Vincent Okoroego was a lead guitarist for the Ikenga Superstars and one of the drummers, Godwin Dike, was also a member of that band.  Okoroego played with Chief Osita Osadebe before that.  (thanks to Uchenna Ikonne and Zim Bida for this information)

I do not know anything else about the band except the LP was released in 1982, they play Igbo highlife music and there is a dedication to William Onyeabor in the liner notes.   The vocals and guitar playing are interesting, but the drumming is what sets this song apart from your average Igbo tune for me.  There is a great 2 1/2 minute stretch starting at the 3:20 mark where the drummer, conga player and native drummer show you what they can do.  The drummer is listed as Godwin Dike, The native drummer is Jelious Ogueri. and the conga player is Bob Agi.  Very enjoyable.

See what you think


Saturday, October 25, 2014

International Brothers Band led by Steady Arobby

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Onuma DimNobi by the International Brothers Band led by Steady Arobby off their 1984 Akashiada release Ejeluno Special.

I have written about the International Brothers before.  They were a top Ukwauni band that included a number of great Ukwauni players including giants like  Bob Fred, Steady Arobby and Franco Ezute Lee.  The members of the band were all alumni of the seminal Ukwauni band the Black Heroes led by Rogana Ottah and played on his first Ukwauni Special LP in the mid 70's that defined the Ukwauni sound.  They did a number of LP's in the late 70's and 80's that beautifully capture the energy and vibrancy of the music.

The rhythmic interplay between the vocals and guitar playing and the way the percussion instruments adds texture to the tune is especially nice.  Check out the way the guitar and conga playing open the song and how the lead vocals of Steady Arobby and the spacey chorus of Bob Fred and Franco Lee play against each other throughout the song.   Classic stuff.  I hope you like it

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…

Bestman Peres Doupere, the son of Bestman Doupere, added:  

The Late Professor I. K. Belemu is the founder and orginator of Ijaw Owigiri highlife music and that IK was playing more of a dance hall owigiri, while King Robert Ebizimor (another popular Ijaw singer) combined both dance hall music and philosophical songs.

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.