After a hiatus that spanned nearly two decades, highlife maestro Godwin Opara, popularly Kabaka, is set to return to the music scene with a new album, “Abialam”.
This was announced by the Chief Operating Officer of Derda Promotions, Glory Ammarachi, at a recent press briefing held in Lagos.
The album is set to be released on 15 September 2023.
In a stunning comeback, the revered highlife artiste, whose music mainly resonated in Southeastern Nigeria and dominated the music scene for several years during the ’90s and the early 2000s, is set to reignite the flames of highlife music and captivate a new generation of music lovers.
The 77-year-old singer, renowned for his enchanting guitar melodies, once stood tall as an integral member of the legendary ‘Oriental Brothers International Band,’ an iconic Igbo highlife ensemble that dominated the 90s.
But when the band tragically lost its lead vocalist, the enigmatic Chief Christogonus Ezewuiro Obinna, affectionately known as Sir Warrior, in 1999, it seemed as though the group had descended into obscurity, leaving its ardent fans clutching their cherished vinyl record albums as bittersweet relics of a bygone era.
Now, Kabaka, alongside his Oriente Brothers, is back.
The album, ‘Abialam,’ is coming 17 years after Kabaka’s tribute, ‘Madu bu aja,’ which is translated as ‘We are Sand’ to his friend and former band member, Late Sir Warrior, in 2006.
At the press briefing, the Imo State-born singer expressed his delight and readiness to take over the music world with his indigenous highlife album, spearheaded by Derda Promotions.
The composer and instrumentalist noted that ‘Abialam’ aims to restore the Highlife genre and transcend the controversies that ensued from the Oriental Brothers’ decision to go solo and subsequent members’ losses.
He said, “It is so good returning after leaving the scene and with all my brother and friend’s passing.
Speaking on the necessity for the collaboration between Derda Promotions and Kabaka, Mrs Anyanwu said that Kabaka is the first veteran artist she would be working with as she seeks to bridge the generational gap between young and old and also retain the authenticity of our highlife music.
She said, “A project of this scale is a team effort. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Kabaka of the Oriental Brothers for entrusting Derda Promotions with the privilege of unveiling Abialam.
”We also extend our deepest thanks to the Phiz team for their involvement in bringing Abialam to life. We invite music lovers, critics, and fans alike to join us in celebrating the musical genius of Kabaka and His Oriental Brothers.”
Scheduled for release on 15 September 2023, ‘Abialam,’ meaning ‘I have returned,’ takes listeners on a musical journey that transcends time and space, exploring emotions, culture, and life experiences.
‘Abialam’ comprises a meticulously curated selection of six tracks, each with a unique story.
From soul-stirring Highlife to infectious Bongo rhythms, the album showcases Kabaka’s extraordinary ability to evoke emotions and connect with the life experience through music.
Kabaka also featured legendary Bongo artist Sir Foreigner, aka Eze Bongo, in one of the six tracks.
Kabaka, who plays several musical instruments, is a legendary highlife musician who shaped the history and evolution of Highlife music in Nigeria.
His musical journey has spanned several decades, genres, and bands, as he created and performed songs that resonated with millions of listeners across Africa and beyond.
His musical genius, versatility, and innovation earned him a place among the most influential and celebrated Highlife artists of all time.
Some of his significant albums with the Oriental Brothers are ‘Uwa Atualamujo/ Ihe Chinyere,’ ‘Ihe Oma,’ ‘Ischim Nyara Gi,’ ‘Five Fingers,’ ‘Oriental Special,’ ‘Osa Enwe Akwu,’ ‘Onyaoma Nmadu Eji Egbuya,’ ‘Anam Ele Chi,’ ‘Hallelujah,’ “Madu Bu Aja’ and ‘Abialam.’
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