Connect with us


Biography And Life of Highlife Legend, Victor Olaiya



Victor Abimbola Olaiya (31 December 1930 – 12 February 2020), also known as Dr Victor Olaiya, was a Nigerian trumpeter who played in the highlife style. Though extremely famous in Nigeria during the 1950s and early 1960s, Olaiya received little recognition outside his native country. He died on the 12th of February 2020 at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital at age 89. Alhaji Alade Odunewu of the Daily Times described him as “The Evil Genius of Highlife.

Early life and career

Olaiya was born on 31 December 1930 in Calabar, Cross River State, the 20th child of a family of 24. His parents, Alfred Omolona Olaiya and Bathsheba Owolabi Motajo, came from Ijesha-Ishu in Ekiti State. Olaiya came from a very rich family. His father’s house called Il?ij?s Bar stood on 2 Bamgbose Street, Lagos Island, until it was demolished on 11 September 2016.

 At an early age he learned to play the Bombardon and the French Horn. After leaving school he moved to Lagos, where he passed the school certificate examination in 1951 and was accepted by Howard University, US, to study civil engineering. Olaiya instead pursued a career as a musician, to the disapproval of his parents. He played with the Sammy Akpabot Band, was leader and trumpeter for the Old Lagos City Orchestra and joined the Bobby Benson Jam Session Orchestra.

In 1954 Olaiya formed his own band, the Cool Cats, playing popular highlife music. His band was chosen to play at the state ball when Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom visited Nigeria in 1956, and later to play at the state balls when Nigeria became independent in 1960 and when Nigeria became a republic in 1963. On the latter occasion, Olaiya shared the stage with the American jazz musician Louis Armstrong. During the Nigerian Civil War of 1967–70, Olaiya was given the rank of a lieutenant colonel (honorary) in the Nigerian army and his band played for the troops at various locations. The Cool Cats later travelled to the Congo to perform for United Nations troops.

Olaiya renamed his band to the All Stars Band when they played the 1963 International Jazz Festival in Czechoslovakia.

Olaiya also ran a business that imported and distributed musical instruments and accessories throughout West Africa, and established the Stadium Hotel in Surulere.

In 1990, Olaiya received a fellowship of the Institute of Administrative Management of Nigeria. For a period, he was also president of the Nigerian Union of Musicians.[

Personal life

Olaiya married many wives. He had children and grandchildren. One of his daughters, Moji Olaiya, was a Nollywood actress. He sang with his son, Bayode Olaiya.


Olaiya’s music bridges between Ghanaian highlife and what would become Afrobeat.

His musical style was influenced by James Brown, with horn parts harmonised in Brown’s style, as opposed to the mostly unison lines of Afrobeat. The music includes the swinging percussion of Tony Allen, but not the syncopated style that Allen later pioneered.

Olaiya released an album with Ghanaian highlife musician E. T. Mensah. Both the drummer Tony Allen and vocalist Fela Kuti played with Olaiya and went on to achieve individual success.

In July 2013, Victor Olaiya released a music video remix of Baby Jowo (Baby Mi Da) with 2face Idibia and was received with much acclaim.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Davido’s Chioma Among 5 New COVID-19 Cases



The number of positive coronavirus infections in the country reached climbed towards 70 on Friday with Chioma, the fiancé of the musician David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido being confirmed as one of the positive cases.

The National Centre for Disease Control in a tweet said there were five new cases confirmed on Friday.

Three of the new cases were in Abuja which now has 14 cases and two were in Oyo State. Lagos State which has 44 cases did not receive any positive confirmation on Friday.

Continue Reading


Day Veteran Movie Star, Yinka Quadri Saved Me From Frustration – Peju Ajiboye



Nollywood actress, Peju Ajiboye has narrated how she almost lost hope in movies following frustration she was made to face at location some years back. But for the intervention of ace Nollywood star, Yinka Quadri who saved her, Peju would have forgotten all about her passion which led her to acting.

The mass communications graduate who hails from Ilorin, Kwara State made appearance at the last Valentine show at the Raddison hotel in Ikeja GRA where she spoke passionately about Nigerian youths. “My personal experience when I started out in movies was not too encouraging but I did not allow the frustration to deter me from forging ahead.”

The situation that led to her frustration years ago started when she was to act a scene at a location.” I spent over five days without being given a role. I ended up so frustrated because I discovered that the producer was not willing to encourage me at all. I thank God for the intervention of Uncle Yinka Quadri who gave me money that I should go back home and said to me, don’t worry, one day, your own time will sure come. That was how I left the location with all my costumes after having waited without a job”.

But today, I thank God that I am doing pretty well. All I am saying is that the younger ones need to be focussed and patient. Whatever disappointment you encounter is not meant to discourage you, rather it will build you stronger.

“This is the same spirit I want the younger ones to imbibe, once you have a vision, all you need to do is to pursue it vigorously and never allow distractions to discourage you”.

In her words, Peju fondly known as “Omo Old Soldier” told First Weekly, how she made her way into Nollywood. “I had always liked acting from my childhood days. I started out with stage performances and gradually I took the bold steps to forge ahead but I will forever be grateful to my boss, Kamorudeen Saba (Radical) who tutored me all the rudiments of acting and productions.”

Recalling how challenging it was to produce her first work, titled “Kini Mo Se”, Peju who until now hasover 10 films to her credit is desirous of working with her mentor, Bukky Wright who she says inspired her a lot during her early days in acting.

Asked what her projection is, Peju told First Weekly, “My desire is to embark on an adventure abroad toeducate Nigerian children abroad about culture and tradition through film productions. It is obvious that parents have succumbed to infiltration of Western culture. Our children no longer know what culture and tradition means to us as Africans.

Highly passionate about the project, Peju who is currently on a location for the production of a new movie, “Oko Ore Mi” says she is already discussing with a number of notable movie stars in Europe who are willing to partner with her to stage performances and produce films that are culture-oriented. “This is the only way we can preserve our tradition”, she asserted.

Part of her past cultural productions, “Igbo Dudu” according to Peju will also be staged for her numerous fans to appreciate with a view to projecting our values so our children can uphold African culture and tradition.

Some of her personal productions in the past include “Kini Mose”, “Eje Omidan”, “Igbo Dudu”, “Iku Obirin”, and a fast-selling “Arogidigba” which is currently in the market.

Continue Reading


I am Still Very Much Around In Movie Industry –Monalisa Chinda



Beautiful and talented actress, Monalisa Chinda has been dominating the movie scene ever since her debut in Pregnant Virgin.

Having experienced a bad marriage to a label owner, she bounced back and now enjoying her second marriage to Victor Tonye Coker.

In this interview, the mother of one shares her marital regrets and joy of her new position as the PRO of Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) and she speaks on other matters of interest.

You have just been appointed the PRO of Actors Guild of Nigeria; can you tell us more about this?

Basically, I am the director of communication (national), which means I have to foresee everything that has to do with publicity, packaging the guild, making sure that nobody is stepping out of order. Our guild has rules and regulations, so I am to make sure that members do not break these rules. It is a very sensitive position, which means I am going to be stepping on lots of toes. I won’t use my position to intimidate anyone. I just have to follow protocols. I didn’t set the rules; I met them there. I need to harmonize the rules, get everyone speaking in one language, so we can move the guild forward.

Some people believe the guild is more like an inner caucus gathering? What do you think should be done to make sure more people take part in the affairs of the guild?

Under the leadership of Emeka Rollas, you see that things are being harmonized properly. We are trying to carry everyone along. The major problem is ‘are you interested in this guild? Are you interested to see that there is a proper structure to which everyone would abide?’ So, it’s personal interest. And I don’t blame them because in the past, people have been hurt, burnt and taken for granted. Sometimes people see Actors Guild of Nigeria as a scam. It is imperative that we clear all these doubts. It is important that we live up to our reputation. It is not rocket science.

For up and coming actors who want to join the guild, what’s the first step to take?

Get registered. When you do that they hand over to you the constitution, rules and regulations, and other basic things you need to know about.

I hardly see you in movies nowadays, what’s going on?

I am still very much around but not as regular as I used to be. I have done At Your Service, Bling Lagosians, and there are so much on ROK TV and Mnet. I have so many things that I’m doing. I am getting older and there has to be room for the younger generation to take over. I am more about producing movies. I have done a lot in the past. I think that’s one of the things that slowed me down. Movies can be very demanding, you end up getting lost doing films for other people. However, this year, you would be seeing more of me on your screens.

You mentioned stepping aside for up and coming actors to take over, you mean you don’t feel bad seeing some of them taking over your roles?

Are you going to remain young and sexy for the rest of your life? No! There are certain roles that I can’t play anymore. I have to tell myself the truth. For instance, I can no longer play a young university student, a year-one student. But every other role like aunty, wicked step-mum, house help, I am game.

How about deep romantic roles?

Romantic roles? Yes. Why not? I am an actor, so I can play such roles but it must be tastefully done. It must be a fantastic script and interpretation. But I’m not going to go nude for any reason. Those are Western ideas that don’t work here. We are Africans.

What do you look out for in a script?

I look at the message, mood of writing and language; I look at other characters that would play alongside me. Also, I look at the crewmembers, director, location and above all the message.

How about remuneration?

I don’t know why I didn’t mention money in the first instance. That’s to show how passionate I am. Acting is a deep passion for me. I don’t think anyone in Nigeria would be able to pay me my fare because of how low our (movie) budgets are. It can be so annoyingly low. And I don’t want to let money stand in a way of making me deliver. I know we all have to work to put food on our tables but it comes with the passion. If you say ‘this is my fee, if you don’t pay me this fee, I won’t feature in your film’, with the way Nigerians do things, they would just leave you behind.

Would you want your daughter to join the industry?

Anything she wants to do that won’t bring reproach, that won’t bring shame, that won’t hurt our saviour, Jesus Christ, I am fine with it.

Have you watched any of your old movies and wished you didn’t do it?

No, because that’s what was available at that time. I have never regretted any movie that I have done. But for now, I select because everyone needs to upgrade to better roles and character.

What’s next for Monalisa?

Seeing myself doing more profound movies, working with the best of directors, seeing myself doing so well as the PRO of AGN and seeing the guild doing more for the society.

You age backwards, what’s the secret?

I think it’s the person inside of me. I don’t do any other thing extra. I drink a lot of water; use my ori (Shea butter). I use what you use, nothing more.

Does your daughter always ask for another baby, a sibling?

Yes, she wishes. She’s alone and so sometimes she would ask, ‘is there any chance that I can get a younger brother or sister?’ and I would say ‘it’s coming’. The Lord is the author and finisher of my faith. He knows my heart desires; he knows I want more children. It’s up to him to give me. It is not a burden for my husband and I. We look beyond all of that; children are not in the hands of man but God to give. I am happy I have such an understanding partner. He knows that none of us is barren. With time, by the grace of God, we shall have more kids.

Don’t your in-laws disturb you?

No. They don’t. We have gone past that stage.

Looking back, do you have a regret or mistake you made?

Maybe five years ago, I would say yes but now, no. Everything that has happened to me in the past has been a blessing that has built me to be a better person. It’s an eye-opener, which has made me wiser. I didn’t kill anybody neither did I steal, it’s just flesh. Sometimes you think you are taking the right decision for yourself, not knowing it is a grievous mistake. Don’t stew in your juice, if you have made a mistake in life, move on, don’t try to carry out revenge or get angry over what you couldn’t control. My advice is, let your hurt go so that you can be a better person. Let love lead and find you again.

Do you see your past marriage as a mistake or regret ever taking such decision?

No, I don’t see it as a mistake. I was just young and naive. I met the wrong person at the right time. The person was wrong for me, so what I did was to dust the dirt off my body and move on.

What’s your advice for some of your colleagues suffering from heartbreak, failed marriages?

Every individual has his or her way of dealing with emotions. It is very difficult I must confess, but when you keep speaking positivity into your life, that helped me a lot. I looked at myself in the mirror and told myself that I am better than before. I had a child who was 16 months old at that time. I told myself, I must move forward. I must look after my child.

Fill yourself with positivity. Surround yourself with people that are supportive. I had a fantastic support system, my family and very few of my colleagues. They knew how I started from day one with the person in question. So, find yourself among people who would take you to light. I prayed a lot, put my situations in the hands of God and He helped me. That’s why I said it’s not a mistake; it only shaped me and made me a better person. Then, I had wanted to marry because every other person was getting married.

Continue Reading