Nigeria evil genius trumpeter who influenced Fela Kuti
Nigeria has been mourning music legend Victor Olaiya, who created Nigeria’s highlife rhythms and influenced a generation of musicians including Fela Anikulapo-Kuti. Nduka Orjinmo looks back at the life of the trumpeter, who died last month at the age of 89This was at the beginning of the 1950s, his early days as a performer, when the trumpeter was trying to create Nigeria’s highlife rhythms
More musician than the bureaucrat
At this stage, music was something he did in his spare time and Olaiya thought he had lost his job in the civil service when his boss saw a newspaper photo of him performing at a nightclub Instead, he was told that he was a better musician than a bureaucrat at the survey department of Lagos mainland local government.
He left the job and took on music full time
Fela comes to the city Olaiya
Olaiya was a multi-linguist and sang in Twi, Igbo, Efik, Pidgin and Yoruba and his band would go on to serve as a training ground for musicians who would revolutionise music in Africa Olaiya recognised a prodigy and gave him a platform, in the same way that he had been supported by Benson Fela’s drummer, Tony Allen, was also among those who played with Olaiya. Other notable musicians that passed through his band were guitar