Okwy Patrick Osadebe, son of the late highlife maestro Chief Osita Osadebe, is toeing his father’s musical line in a very unusual way.   Osadebe sings and plays his father’s iconic lyrics and tunes in the original Igbo language form but with a bent, his backup band is mostly white; white men, African Americans and Hispanics who seem to have found a way to croon and trill in the typical Osadebe manner.

The Mikata Salsa Latin Jazz Band we saw with Okwy Osadebe, exhibited such good rendition of the Igbo songs that could only be called out by an avid Osadebe devotee.

It was strange and at the same time interesting to watch the band of six white men, one white lady, a black American and two Nigerians performing Osita Osadebe’s original highlife tracks as well as providing the backup chorus in Igbo language.  Renafrique learned that one of the whites, Jeff McQuillan who is a co-founder of the Mikata Band had studied traditional African music and culture in Ghana. The rhythm guitarist, Fidelis Mazau, provided a link to the past being a surviving member of late Chief Osita Osadebe’s band.  Another Osadebe son, Okwy’s younger brother, provided chorus support to complete the ensemble.

Chief Okwy Osadebe told us later that he is working on assembling his own band; an all-Nigerian or African cast based in US since the Mikata Band is a collaborative arrangement. 

Okwy Osadebe was performing during a June 13 event sponsored by Peoples Club of Nigeria, New Haven, Connecticut Branch at Obi Igbo Hall in Queens, New York. As the eldest living son of the maestro, the junior Osadebe had shown a strong desire to keep his father’s brand of highlife music going following the death of his elder brother who was already stepping into their late father’s shoes.    

At the concert to support Chief Okwy Patrick Osadebe, were his mother, three sisters, brothers and a lot of guests from Maryland, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York.

@ Nigeria Media in Diaspora


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