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Osadebe Fest… Celebration Of Highlife Music

Son of Late Sir Stephen Osita Osadebe, Onyeka Luis Osita Osadebe (left), Convener, Osadebe Fest; Afam Dozie, Eze Ndigbo of Mushin Lagos; Ezechimeleze, HRH Igwe John C. Nwosu, Associate Conveners; Steve Onu and Oranu Hillary Ikechukwu at the brand unveiling of the Osadebe Fest in Lagos.

Those with in-depth knowledge of African music know it is best defined in the highlife genre. Late Chief Steven Osita Osadebe, who started his career in the early 90s, was one of the icons of Igbo highlife. His 1984 hit Osondi Owendi went beyond the Igbo speaking areas; it was played home and abroad.

Osadebe’s style of highlife also evolved to social commentary where he addressed issues in the society such as life trials and tribulations in his music, with lines of hope for his audience and listeners.

The music legend, who hailed from Atani in Anambra State, Nigeria, died on May 11, 2007, after a brief illness. Notwithstanding, his music lives on as many continued to savour the songs to date.


Based on his evergreen status of Osadebe’s music, Afam Dozie a native of Anambra State has officially unveiled Osadebe Fest as a brand. Conceived as a platform to celebrate the music legend, the festival will also give the opportunity to the younger generation, who didn’t know Osadebe or his inspiring songs, the privilege to appreciate his works.

“Osadebe Fest is an idea I have had in mind for a long time; I shared it my partners and we all started working towards the actualisation.

We are projecting a bigger picture with lined up programmes and events, which would be unfolding in series. We have the youth debate, for secondary school students on what highlife represents. Also, drawing competition, musical challenge on Osadebe songs, football novelty match in his memory, and a symposium for the elderly, which would hold, in the People’s Club auditorium where Osadebe played most of his songs growing up. The entire event will be crowned with a musical concert by highlife musicians,” Dozie said.

He further said Anambra state government would be supporting the fest, which would take place at a significant period of Osadebe’s life, next year.

“We are seeking support from organisations and Nigerians home and abroad. We need the Igbos; we need everybody who believes in Osadebe music,” he said.

Hillary Oranu, Partner Osadebe Fest said, the event is channeled towards taking back the African-Igbo culture.

“We want to celebrate and give recognition to our legend, whilst putting the Igbo culture and tradition where it is meant to be. Osadebe is the most reputable highlife artiste in the eastern Nigerian and deserves to be celebrated as he lives on in his music,” he said.

Oranu, however, noted that Osadebe’s family has given their support towards this event.

“We are not doing this on our own accord; we have the family involved in this. We have the traditional rulers from Atani and also the council of traditional rulers and Igwe’s, as well as the Ohaneze Ndigbo with us. So, what we are doing is beyond musical concerts but tradition, as there is no way you can take that out, Osadebe’s songs depict traditions as well,” he said.

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