Nigerian music legend, Victor Uwaifo, passed on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at the age of 89. As expected, the news of his death shocked many Nigerians and threw the industry into mourning.
Believed to be one of the last of the originals in the music industry, many described his death as heartbreaking as his exit left a vacuum in the industry that can never be filled.
The impact of his death has left many people in the industry heartbroken and in shock. From the way the news of this death was received, it is clear to see that Victor Uwaifo was indeed a man of the people.
He stole hearts with his musical prowess, and also as a writer, sculptor, and musical instrument inventor. He also served as commissioner for arts and culture in Edo State under the government of Lucky Igbinedion.
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Famous for his hit song, Joromi, Uwaifo's journey into music is a pretty interesting one with some facts about the singer not so many people know about.
Below are 7 things you probably didn't know about the music legend:
1. Started music at an early age
Born in Benin City, Edo State, Victor Efosa Uwaifo attended Western Boys' High School Benin and St Gregory's College, Lagos, from 1957 to 1961. Developing a keen interest in music, Victor started playing guitar when he was 12 years old. According to reports, his earliest music influences surprisingly, were records of Spanish and Latin American music.
2. First Class holder and has a master's degree from the University of Benin
Sir Victor was not just good at dishing out good music, he was also a brilliant student when it came to academics too.
The music legend studied graphics at Yaba College of Technology, Lagos and graduated in 1961–63. He proceeded to the University of Benin in 1994, where he studied fine and applied arts and majored in sculpture.
He bagged a bachelor's degree with first-class honours and a master's degree from the varsity.
3. Joromi was his first major hit in the music industry
Uwaifo jammed with Olaiya's All Stars band during his secondary school days. After completing his studies, he played with E.C. Arinze's highlife during late hours.
He also briefly worked with Stephen Osadebe and Fred Coker before he formed Melody Maestros in 1965. The band released Joromi which became a hit in Nigeria and other parts of West Africa.
It continues to enjoy airplay till date and was sampled by Nigerian sensational singer, Simi; a move which almost led to a legal battle based on copyright infringement.
4. Won the first Golden Record in Africa
Uwaifo made history in Nigeria when he won the first Golden record in Nigeria and Africa as a whole for his hit song "Joromi" in 1996.
5. He developed the Akwete, Shadow and Ekassa
He developed the Akwete rhythm sound between 1965 and 1968. In 1969, he launched another beat called Shadow which was accompanied its own dance; a mixture of Akwete and twist.
The sound was released when soul music was popular in Lagos and lasted a few years. After the launch of Shadow, his band, Melody Maestros went on tour of various Nigerian cities.
Uwaifo later experimented with a new rhythm that was similar to soul but soon left it for Ekassa, an interpretation of a traditional Benin sound.
6. Has 12 golden records in total
Uwaifo, who has a total of 12 golden records to date, has traveled to many countries, including the United States, Russia, Japan, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, France, Hungary, Rome, Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire, Togo, Benin Republic, Spain, and Canada.
7. International recognition
In 1995, Uwaifo was invited by the United Nations Staff Day International Committee to perform during the UN Golden Jubilee celebration.
He is cited in the Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, 1983 edition, documented in the "Who's Who in Nigeria", "Who's Who in Africa", "Who's Who in the Commonwealth", and "Men and Women of Distinction in the Commonwealth" sections.
Sir Victor Efosa Uwaifo will be greatly missed.
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