Victor Olaiya, Highlife Icon, Lifeless at 89


Nigerian highlife musician Victor Olaiya has died, the Nigerian newspaper Punch reports. He died on February 12 in Lagos, Nigeria. He was 89 years old.

Olaiya, aka Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya OON, was a trumpeter known as "The Evil Genius of High Life", a Ghanaian genre that combines traditional Akan melodies with western instruments. He broke out on his own for the first time after leaving the Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra to form his own band The Cool Cats in 1954.

Olaiya performed at State Balls in Lagos for Queen Elizabeth II and with Louis Armstrong. He was a former president of the Nigerian Union of Musicians. Olaiya was most productive in the 1960s, releasing numerous singles that have been reprinted many times over the years. In 2012, Nigeria celebrated its 60th anniversary at the Lagos City Hall.


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