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Dr Sir Warrior

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Dr Sir Warrior

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna (1947, Imo State, Nigeria – 2 June 1999), the Ultimate Dr. Sir Warrior, was the leader of the Oriental Brothers International Band which was famous in the Nigerian Igbo highlife music scene for several decades.[1] He performed primarily in Nigeria, as well as performing internationally in places such as London and the United States of America.

Musical career

Dr. Sir Warrior was able to transform his performance into a successful career in the 1970s when he joined the Oriental Brothers International Band. The band later splintered, leading to Prince Ichita & the Great Oriental Brothers International Band, Oriental Brothers International, and then the original Dr. Sir Warrior & His Oriental Brothers International, simply called The Oriental Original. He had about 12 platinum and 10 gold hits in his career.[2] His 1978 album Nwanne Awu Enyi went gold, selling more than 7.8 million copies.

The Oriental Brothers were composed primarily of Godwin Kabaaka Opara, Ferdinand Dansatch Emeka Opara, Nathaniel Ejiogu, Hybrilious Akwilla Alaraibe, Prince Ichita and Christogonus Ezebuiro "Warrior" Obinna. Ejiogu died shortly before the band's success. The first split within the group occurred in 1977 when founding members Dansatch Opara and Prince Ichita left to start their own bands under the Oriental Brothers moniker. The Opara brothers later joined The Oriental Original.

Though each of the groups had their distinct sound, they all shared a passion for blending Congolese guitar picking and traditional Igbo rhythms. According to the Igbo magazine Kwenu, "the Oriental Brothers played a very important spiritual role in keeping many Igbo sane. They were the pride of a people traumatized by a war so vicious."

Musical style

Combining Igbo vocals with deft guitar work and a solid rhythm section, Warrior created a unique style of music that for many people is the definitive sound of highlife music. Warrior was one of the most influential musicians to come out of Igboland. He started playing the guitar in the 1960s.He always had a sense of revolution, as he created a brand of highlife that is Igbo at the core, and at the same time universal in taste. He introduced the Oyorima concept, which is an Igbo word that means a refined feeling of rhythmic movement and balance.

Early life

Dr. Sir Warrior was from Umuhu Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo state Nigeria. His name, Obinna, means "Father's Heart" (God's Mind).[3] Dr Sir Warrior began performing at the age of 11, when joined a men's choral group specialising in a music form known as Èsè. By 16, he had achieved fame for his voice and performance of Èsè music.

Family

Dr Sir Warrior was married and had five children (3Boys & 2girls). His first son had said of him "He did not allow us to get interested in music. He wanted us to finish our education first. He would always emphasize that education was the best legacy, other things could follow later".[4] The younger Ajuzieogu knew that he would one day be a highlife musician like his dad. They both said, "As long as we intend to pursue music as career we will still abide with our father's wish". Quickly after Warrior's exit, fellow highlife artists knew it would be long before another person of his quality emerges. His legacy was summarised by Oliver De Coque, who in paying tribute to Dr. Sir Warrior, said, "He was a very good and amiable person. We have lost such a genius in highlife."[1]

Discography

References

  1. ^ a b Duru, Ben. "Musicians, Others Remember Sir Warrior". Post Express. 2 July 1999.
  2. ^ Obi, Felix. "Whither Nigerian Music?", NigeriaWorld.com. 27 February 2005. Retrieved on 12 January 2006, from .
  3. ^ Meaning of Obinna in Nigerian.name
  4. ^ Alabi, Garba. "Sir Warrior Sings Again Through Sons". Guardian. 6 October 1999.

Further reading

  • Opara, D. Heavy on the Highlife: Nigeria's Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International. New York: Original, 1990.
  • Wale, P. The Highlife Years: History of Highlife Music in Nigeria. Ibadan: Effective, 1995.
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