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, September 7, 2020

Honorable Vincent Ugabi - Oghena Solamame



For the next selection on the highlife turntable I have selected the track Oghena Solamame by the Honorable Vincent Ugabi off a Vin and Dave release Agenebode

Agenebode is the town where Mr. Ugabi is based.  I was told this record was released to celebrate his recent conversion at the time to a brand of Christianity that believed among other things that you could pray to God the same ways the angel in heaven could.  It is one of my favorite African record covers and songs.  

The Honorable Vincent Ugabi was one of the great Etsakor singers in Nigeria in the 1970's. He did several LP's on major record labels like Decca, EMI, Akpola, and many other smaller indigenous labels, including the legendary Ijebor and Kabakar labels.

I had a chance to correspond with Mr. Ugabi recently and this is what he told me about his career

My name is High Chief Hon Vincent Ugabi, the ambassador of Etsako Musicians (born 20 September 1940), from Edo state who is based in Agenebode. I am a Nigerian high life singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.  I am known professionally as Honorable Vincent Ugabi.

 I am regarded as one of the first African traditional High life musicians to gain international success and have been called one of the most influential Etaskor musicians of all time.   My music represents spirituality, life and soul and is inspired by the lives, parables, stories and historical details of my culture.  My kind of music is the kind that bring life to the dead and hope to the hopeless

 I have more than 30 LP's to my credit.  All of these records helped to define what became known as the Etsako/Weppa Wanno sound.   The Etaskor sound was one of the most creative and meditative forms of highlife music in Nigeria during this time. Many of the most of important releases appeared on the legendary Ijebor records label in the mid 70's and early 80's. 

I did not start out as a musician.  I was a photographer, tailor and hair stylist before I  settled down with music in my early 30s.  I realized music was my true calling after my father died in 1971.  I was based in Lagos when I finally decided to focus on music.  I recorded my first two LP's in 1971 and 1975 respectively.

My community was impressed by my recordings and live performances. I got a lot of positive responses and support from them and they invited me to relocate back home which is in the Weppa Wanno region of Nigeria in 1977, where I launched a very successful career.  I performed under my own name and was also the lead singer for the Weppa Wanno Sound band.

 In the 1990's a fire destroyed a lot of the records I had recorded.  Recently a group of record collectors helped me regain some access to these recordings when they shared the recordings they had made of my records. 

While I was devastated by what was lost in the fire the support of my fans has always supported me through the hard seasons of life and helped me maintain my creativity and consistency as a performer.  

The track is a great example of the energy and beauty in the call and response style of Etaskor music. Mr. Ugabi hypnotic vocals are backed by a rapturous chorus and  a stellar psych guitar section that add flow, depth, poignancy and urgency to the sound.  

At once meditative and introspective the music ebbs and flows and you have no choice but get drawn into the dialogue and all you want to do is sway and dance to the rhythmic beat and the truth it expresses.  A great example of what makes the Etsakor sound one of the great musical treasures of Nigeria.

As an added bonus to the track I have added a link to a Facebook concert Mr. Ugabi and his sons recently did.  This is the first live online performance by the artist that I know of.  Mr. Ugabi is trying to raise some money to build a home studio to preserve his work and the Etaskor sound. 

If you like the music and would like to contribute here is a link to the Gofundme site we have setup.  It has some more information on what Mr.  Ugabi's musical discography and what he's like to do with the home studio. 

 If you can make a contribution that would be great, but we'd also appreciate if you could share the link and this blog space on your social media accounts so we can try to get other people involved with the project and his music.

gofundme.com/f/recording-studio-honorable-vincent-ugabi - you can cut and paste the link. 

Mr. Ugabi has a facebook page and an Instragram account ugabivicent official.

I hope you enjoy the music.  


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https://www.facebook.com/ugabi/videos/10213706771462596/UzpfSTEwMDAwMDE1MDc1MDMzNjozODc3MzkxNjA4OTQyNDkz/ - the link to the concert.  You can cut and paste the link.  Performance date was 8/26/20

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Kelly Udeji and his Okpilla Group - onoeshimegba omuvue

For the next selection on the highlife turntable,  I have selected the song onoeshimegba omuvue by Kelly Udeji and his Okpilla Group.

There was no information about the band, but the Iroube label was one of the smaller labels operating in the Etaskor region in the 80's.  I really like the deep hypnotic repetitive energy of the music and vocals, especially the interplay between the lead singer and the chorus.  The chorus really stands out as it answers the call and response of the lead vocalist.  Simple, elegant, meaningful, urgent the music conveys everything that makes Etaskor music so beautiful. Check out the flute playing towards the middle of the song.  Reminds me a little of the sound of the Hon. Vincent Ugabi.

I hope you like it


Friday, May 1, 2020

Prince A.E. Amgbaduba And His Benrivs band Of Nigeria - Seikirilemor

For the next selection on the highlife turntable, I have selected the track Seikirimelemor by Prince.  A.E. Amgbaduba and his Benrivs Dance Band off a Gabea record release.

I have never heard of the label and I believe its probably one of his rarest recordings.   I got this LP from Chris Meserve during one of my visits to his house in New York.  He gave it to me as a parting gift after one of our music listening sessions.

I received a message from Bestman Peres Doupere that this is actually an Ijaw song!  He told me IK Belemu and many others used the term Seikinlade and the word itself means "Here comes dance" or dancing time.  

He went on to say: The artist name is Emmanuel Amgbaduba.  Amgbaduba is an Ijaw name that means big cheeks or literally big mouth.  He also said he thinks Amgbaduba may have passed away in the 80's and that he was into music in the 60's before King Robert Ebizimor, Bestman Doupere, IK Belemu and many others.  He started out playing native songs with african native drums before crossing to using english instruments for highlife music.  

This makes sense as I have a 45 of his music from the mid 70's and another Ijaw player Lord Adusa played Asiko music back in the 60's before switching over to highlife. 

I'd rank the beauty of his vocals and originality of his music along side other greats like Obiajulum and Mmadu Osa.

 This song is one of my all time favorites.  Check out the dreamy opening with its pulsating rhythms and the easy going introspective, almost philosophical, cadence of the vocals and the languid way they fades in and out of  the song along side the chorus.

I tease my friends this is the song I want them to play at my wake because it says everything I ever wanted to say to them and everything they needed to know.

I hope you like it


Saturday, November 9, 2019

Pere Tony Ombolo and the night rockers international band of Kabeama - Wanle Wanle Akpo

For the next selection on the highlife turntable I have selected the track Wanle Wanle Akpo by Pere Tony Ombolo and the night rockers international band of Kabeama.

Intimate and Hypnotic, the Izon song meanders over 14 minutes.  The languid vocals are accompanied by a steady percussion section that paces the song with an occasional synth flourish provided by the keyboards and guitars.  It may not have flourish or pace of an Ebizimor or Belemu song, but the drumming and vocals create a intimate spacey dialogue that I find soothing.

I hope you like it


Sunday, October 27, 2019

Golipat and His Dynamites Band of Ayakoromo

For the next selection on the highlife turntable I have selected the track Dau Gbanagha Tubou by Golipat and his Dynamites Band of Ayakoromo.

The song comes off a Golipat Records release from 1991.  I do not know much about the band, but Ayakoromo is a town in the Delta States and the track is an Owigiri Ijaw tune.  Peres Bestman Doupere did provide this information on the lead singer of the group:

Patrick Egoli is a well known musician among the Ijaws in Delta and Bayelsa States.In his active or hay days in the 80s and early 90s,he was the main back up or duet singer to late Professor I K Belemu.He is still much alive.His younger brother,Eniye Egoli is the main bass guitarist with the late King Robert Ebizimor's band.

The sound is reminiscent of I.K. Belumu soun.  The song is free flowing and open with an extended dialogue being created by the interplay between the vocals and a propulsive rhythm section.

Relaxing, philosophical and introspective the song is a really nice of example of what an Izon song done right sounds like.  I hope you like it.


Monday, October 8, 2018

President Rufus Ayafor - Emele-Ogbo

For the next selection of the highlifeturntable I have selected the track Emele-Ogbo by President Rufus Ayafor off his release Rufus A.

I do not know much about about the perfomer except his is an Ijaw performer from the town of Norgbene in the Baylesa State.  I have always liked his sound and have tried to collect anything I could find by him.

The way his ethereal vocals float along the spacey guitar lines are what stand out for me in the song. Their is a warmth and ease to his singing that I really groove on.  I find myself drawn in and relaxed during the course of the song as his vocals interweaves with the chorus and you just feel like whatever he is saying really speaks to the soul

Please let me know if you know anything more about this performer.

I hope you like the music


Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Obiajulum Sound Power of Africa led by Pat Enebeli - Iwe Adimma

For the next selection on the highlifeturntable I have selected the track Iwe Adimma by Obiajulum Sound Power led by Pat Enebeli.

 I have written about Obiajulum before.  He was active in the late 70's through mid 80's. I have seen his name translated to be contented heart or more descriptively by Ikon Afrik as my heart is at peace and joyful.  The liner notes announce on this LP that they are changing their name from Ikwete Super to Obiajulum.

I first heard a track from this Yamson release on the blog hosted by Superfly Records in Paris in 2016 and have been looking for the LP ever since.  It was worth the effort to find it.

Its really hard to describe how good this music is.  The guitar playing and vocals are impeccable from a Ukwauni point of view.   Check out the riffs at the 2 minute mark and around the 4.45 mark.  Just beautiful.  I have also included a link to the link at Superfly.

I hope you like it.