Legendary Nigerian highlife musician, Oliver De Coque, has been honoured with Google Doodle on his 74th posthumous birthday.
King (Dr.) Chief Oliver De Coque, also known as Oliver Sunday Akanite was crowned the “Highlife King of Africa.” He is widely revered as one of the continent’s most prolific recording artists.
Born on April 14, 1947, in the small town of Ezinifite in southeastern Nigeria, Oliver Sunday Akanite first took up the guitar at a young age, and as a teenager, studied the traditional Igbo music of the region and Congolese soukous.
De Coque famously infused the modern West African highlife genre with a Congolese-influenced guitar style and the energetic dance elements of Igbo music he grew up with, crafting a unique musical style.
His dance-inspiring “Ogene” style of Nigerian high life, which blends modern high life and traditional Igbo music, has produced such hits as “People’s Club of Nigeria”,”nempi social club”, “Biri Ka Mbiri,” “Ana Enwe,” “Nnukwu Mmanwu,” and “Identity,” which remained on Radio Nigeria 2’s Top Ten throughout most of 1981.
Beginning with his first solo release in 1976, de Coque’s music only grew in popularity at home and abroad, as he put out album after album featuring his masterful guitar work and fresh take on African pop–over 70 throughout his lifetime.
In 1994, in recognition of his prodigious music achievement, de Coque was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by the University of New Orleans.
He died at the age of 61 on June 20, 2008.