Dr Sir Warrior

Dr Sir Warrior
Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna (1947, Imo State, Nigeria – June 2, 1999), the Ultimate Dr. Sir Warrior, was the leader of the Oriental Brothers International Band which ruled the Nigerian highlife music scene for several decades.[1] He modernized highlife music. His style remains an epitome of defined music with meaning, direction, and purpose. He played on various occasions in Nigeria as well as on the international stage in places like London and the United States of America.

At the age of 27 in 1974, Warrior registered an indelible trademark with his universally recognized genre. His 1975 album Nwa Ada Di Mma with eight tracks touched the heart and soul of the world. The release of that album immediately established him as a master of music. He believed that God created him to be a musician. So, he dedicated his entire life to the service of humanity through his music. His works garnered him several awards worldwide. His witty words often spiced with Igbo proverbs were appreciated by all so much that he came to be called the Ultimate Star of Music.

Contents

The Oyorima Fantasia

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Combining Igbo vocals with deft guitar work and a solid rhythm section, Warrior created a unique style of music that for many people is the definitive sound of highlife music. Many refer to him as the Ultimate Head of Highlife. Early in life, he was recognized as a prodigy. By 11, he was recruited as a member of a men's choral group specialising in a music form known as Èsè. By 16, he was famed for his great voice and his mastery of the Èsè music.

Dr. Sir Warrior was one of the most gifted guitarists of Africa. He wrote and composed numerous songs. People asked him how he was able to release many albums within a space of time. He said that the first thing was not to force the self to get everything all at once. Instead, he added, he let the mind to feel the free flow of information that formed a flexible pattern of waves to the senses. Through stringent learning, he arranged his music suitable to the audience. In 1987, Eze Nri wanted to crown him the King of Highlife. But Sir Warrior rejected the offer, saying that "A King is born natural, not crowned."

Warrior was one of the most influential musicians to come out of Igboland, and one of the most famous in the world. He started playing the guitar in the 1960s, entertaining people in the villages and cities. His sonorous song Ana M Ele Chi remains evergreen. Through his music, he unrolled the Igbo culture to the world. He always had a sense of revolution, as he created a brand of highlife that is Igbo at the core, and at the same time universal in taste. He introduced the Oyorima concept as a definition of his music philosophy within the geo-spatial time frame. Oyorima is an Igbo word that means a refined feeling of rhythmic movement and balance. See Dr Sir Warrior in youtube

Biography

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Dr. Sir Warrior was from Umuhu Enyiogugu in Aboh Mbaise local government area of Imo state Nigeria. His name, Obinna, means "Father´s Heart" (God's Mind).[2] The man started his music career as a part of the most successful bands in Nigeria in the 1970s, the Oriental Brothers International Band. The band later splintered, leading to Prince Ichita & the Great Oriental Brothers International Band, Oriental Brothers International, and then the original Dr. Sir Warrior & His Oriental Brothers International, simply called The Oriental Original. Warrior’s discography is luminous with over 100 tracks that continue to be great hits. He had about 12 platinum and 10 gold hits in his career.[3] His 1978 album Nwanne Awu Enyi went gold, selling more than 7.8 million copies.

Primarily, the Oriental Brothers comprised Godwin Kabaaka Opara, Ferdinand Dansatch Emeka Opara, Nathaniel Ejiogu, Hybrilious Akwilla Alaraibe, Prince Ichita and Christogonus Ezebuiro "Warrior" Obinna. Ejiogu died shortly before the band's success. The first split within the group occurred in 1977 when founding members Dansatch Opara and Prince Ichita left to start their own bands under the Oriental Brothers moniker. The Opara brothers later joined the famed and distinguished Warrior’s band, The Oriental Original.

Though each of the groups had their distinct sound, they all shared the erstwhile band's passion for blending Congolese guitar picking and traditional Igbo rhythms. At a time of immense loss and great struggle after the Biafran War, the Oriental Brothers offered a rare light of hope. According to the Igbo magazine Kwenu, “the Oriental Brothers played a very important spiritual role in keeping many Igbo sane. They were the pride of a people traumatized by a war so vicious.”

Style, Music, and Lyrics

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Warrior usually had a compact control of his music from the first beat to the last. People described him as the one musician who occupied the central stage, touching the right issues the right way and at the right pace. He was a national figure singing for unity, peace, and progress. His 1980 album Obi Nwanne was a message of hope for his country. He appealed to state governors and the president for continuous transparency in the leadership process. Sir Warrior was continuously held in esteem as one of the few artists with an inborn instinct of the nature of the musical note. With his distinctive personality and guitar style, he attracted numerous fans all over the world. The philosophy of this man can be summarized in the following ten precepts:

  1. "Change is inevitable"
  2. "No one sees it all or has it all"
  3. "No individual is an island"
  4. "The wise chooses according to his ability"
  5. "The successful humbly grows outwardly starting from his niche"
  6. "Principled patience and humility do not mean weakness or fear"
  7. "Everyone deserves decent treatment, the benefit of the doubt, and even a second chance"
  8. "Freedom for all and the common good are the foundations of progress"
  9. "Our message is for the betterment of the world"
  10. "Every act or thought has its repercussion and reward"

Perfecting the Beat

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Sir Warrior's music showed a consistent mixture of luster and class. Perfecting the beat was the order of his band. Something easily noticed is that Warrior's songs are generally swifter and brisker than those of his Igbo contemporaries. The tonal architecture, the melody, and the harmony of his music are perhaps the greatest in the history of highlife music. He embedded superb themes in each of his songs. The allegro was all the more kitted through the fingers of the guitarist Dansatch Emeka Opara, who on Warrior's death wept and said, "I felt that I had lost a rare gem, a powerful vocalist".[1] Warrior integrated various sheds of highlife that relate to various age sets and various occasions. It is for these reasons that his songs remain in such a high demand. His 1978 album Nwanne Awu Enyi is one of the best Igbo highlife ever. That album manifested an all-encompassing guitar work. It was a fine rhythm, and it sold more than any Igbo music. In 1987, the track Onye Egbula Nwanne Ya immediately went gold. The epicurean guitar style of that track carried highlife music to another level. There were rich piano works in such luxurious tracks like Anyi Ga-Ebi and Kwukwaa Eziokwu. As a further testament of his originality, Warrior once again distinguished himself with his 1994 release of Ofe Owerri. The album marked a milestone in the revolution of highlife music, as it employed grandeur of beating so fascinating that it was voted the Igbo music of the year. The track Uwa Chiga Achiga from this very album remains an all-time favourite.

This generous, erudite and very likable personality often talked about the importance of humaneness and charity to the less-privileged. A man of numerous titles and vast wealth, Warrior himself built channels through which he gave back to the society. He extended his goodwill hand to the church and formed organizations that helped the needy. He emphasized justice and the dignity of man. He asked whether existence itself is worth it. Of these, he concluded that “we came into this world in the center of night, and that is the root of the problem”. In other words, our sight is very limited. So, we cannot be definitely certain of anything. Nonetheless, he said that to experience existence is better than not. As the world is slippery, he sang, one encounters both the good and the ugly: A gbakwuru ajo mmadu, a gbakwuru ajo mmuo. And for those that never see the good side of life, he reminded them that “it is with the accumulation of one’s good time on earth that one departs to the other dimension”. Therefore, it should be known that there is no one for whom it is good. One should be happy and jovial and take things easy step by step without nagging and much ado. Sir Warrior believed in the power of self reflection. He praised the souls that chose to do good. This was his fundamental philosophy of wisdom.

Successful career

Christogonus Ezebuiro Obinna, UDSW

Dr. Sir Warrior is the father of modern highlife instrumentation. His works are being studied and classified. Igbo academics gathered to include the learning of the legend's lyrics in Music subject in the curriculum. His journey on earth produced beautiful and everlasting tones. He lived a fulfilled life by laying the foundations of modern highlife music and helping it evolve to higher levels. Sir Warrior was the first artist to gear highlife music towards the metaphysical realm. In the Igbo world, highlife is the music that blends tradition with universal truth and metaphysical feeling. It is like the Igbo form of Classical Music, and Sir Warrior contributed to making it flow in that direction.

The brilliance of this magnificent maestro keeps inspiring many who regard him as one of the greatest Igbo highlife musicians of the twentieth century. He departed in 1999 and is immortalized with the Imo State Heartland FM [100.5 MHz][4] dedicated to playing his tracks. He is survived by wife Chiamaka Obinna and children. His sons Uche Obinna and Ajuzieogu Obinna and his brother Emperor Teddy Obinna have taken after him.

Speaking of when Sir Warrior was alive, Uchenna his first child said, "He did not allow us to get interested in music. He wanted us to finish our education first. He would always emphasize that education was the best legacy, other things could follow later".[5] The younger Ajuzieogu knew that he would one day be a highlife musician like his dad. Continued both Abia State University graduates, "As long as we intend to pursue music as career we will still abide with our father's wish". Quickly after Warrior's exit, fellow highlife artists knew it would be long before another person of his quality emerges. His legacy was summarized by Oliver De Coque, who in paying tribute to Dr. Sir Warrior, said, "He was a very good and amiable person. We have lost such a genius in highlife."[1] He died after a battle with Diabetes.

Discography

  • Ihe Chi Nyere M (1974)
  • Ikoro (1974)
  • Ochu Okuko New Ada (1974)
  • Uwa Atuola M Ujo (1974)
  • Akwa Uwa (1975)
  • Ana M Ele Chi (1975)
  • Chi Abu Ofu (1975)
  • Nwa Ada Di Mma (1975)
  • Nwaanyi Di Ya Bu Eze (1975)
  • Onye Oma (1975)
  • Onye Si Naani Ya Biri (1975)
  • Onwetereni Nye Ibe Efe (1975)
  • Taxi Driver (1975)
  • Uwa M Ezi Special (1975)
  • Onye Oma Mmadu (1976)
  • Rarama Ndu (1976)
  • Uba Di Iche Iche (1976)
  • A Luta Agbogho (1977)
  • Aku Udo (1977)
  • Ihe E Me Uwa Adi Mma (1977)
  • Ihe Oma (1977)
  • Ihe Onye Eche (1977)
  • Kelee Chi (1977)
  • Murtala Muhammad (1977)
  • Ndidi (1977)
  • Nkwa, Part One (1977)
  • Nkwa, Part Two (1977)
  • Nne Di N'Obi (1977)
  • Nwoke Ezu Ike (1977)
  • Ofu Nnwa (1977)
  • Oke Na Olulu (1977)
  • Onye Ma Uche Chukwu? (1977)
  • Onye Oma Mmadu Na Eji Egbu Ya (1977)
  • Oriental's Special (1977)
  • Origbu Onye Ozo (1977)
  • Osa Enwe Akwu (1977)
  • Ugwu Mmadu Na Nwanne Ya (1977)
  • Uwa Enwe Mmete (1977)
  • A Ma Onye Bu Onye? (1978)
  • Elu Rie, Ala Rie (1978)
  • Ibe Zi M Ako (1978)
  • Nwanne Awu Enyi (1978)
  • Onye Egbula Onye Agbataobi Ya (1979)
  • Ozo Bu Iwe M (1979)
  • A Na Eri Aku (1980)
  • Ebele Onye Uwa (1980)
  • Hapu M Ka M Biri (1980)
  • I Nye M Ugwu M (1980)
  • Obi Nwanne (1980)
  • Onye Oma Mmadu (1980)
  • Akwamibo (1981)
  • Ebee M Akwa Uwa (1981)
  • Ndo Ma Ike (1981)
  • Onye Obula Zoba Isi Onwe Ya (1981)
  • Onye Oma (1981)
  • Oriental Original (1981)
  • Udo Ka Mma (1981)
  • Chi Awu Otu (1982)
  • Ihe Onye Che (1982)
  • Jide Nke Gi (1982)
  • Ome Mma Special (1982)
  • Onye Boro Chi (1982)
  • Agwo Loro Ibe Ya (1983)
  • Mesaba Ahu (1983)
  • Mmadu Mezie Ndu Ya (1983)
  • Nnwa Enwe Nne (1983)
  • Omumu (1983)
  • Onye Ije (1983)
  • Onye New Ala (1983)
  • Ugo Chi Nyere M (1983)
  • Ego Ka Mma N'Okorobia (1984)
  • Ihe E Ji Aku Eme (1984)
  • Ndi Ji Ego (1984)
  • Uwa Di Egwu (1984)
  • Uwa Sef! Part One (1984)
  • Uwa Sef! Part Two (1984)
  • Anyi Di Odo (1985)
  • Chi Na Eme Mma (1985)
  • Nne na Nna (1985)
  • Akaraka (1986)
  • Ndi Adudu (1986)
  • Anyi Abiala (1987)
  • Onye Egbula Nwanne Ya (1987)
  • Lekwe Nu M (1988)
  • Nakwa Echeki (1988)
  • O Ruole (1988)
  • Onye Huru Chi M Anya? (1988)
  • Udo Ndi Oma (1988)
  • Ezi Nwanne (1989)
  • O si na Chi (1989)
  • Heavy On The Highlife (1990)
  • Owerri Wu Oke Mba(remix)(1990)
  • Onye Di Mma N’Azu? (1993)
  • Nke Onye Diri Ya (1993)
  • Warrior Abiala Ozo (1993)
  • Ochichi Nigeria (1994)
  • Ofe Owerri (1994)
  • Omegbu Nwa Ogbenye (1994)
  • Uwa Chiga Achiga (1994)
  • Anyi Ga Ebi (1995)
  • Kwukwaa Eziokwu (1995)
  • Mmanwu Egbu Special (1995)
  • Onye Ike Kwere (1995)
  • Imo & Abia Special (1996)
  • M Noro M Ele Uwa (1996)
  • Obi Ejile Ekwele M (1996)
  • Oko Nke Gi (1996)
  • Orientals Ga Ebi (1996)
  • Who Goes There? (1996)
  • Uwa Bu Uke Onye? (1996)
  • Zik (1996)

References

  1. ^ a b c Duru, Ben. "Musicians, Others Remember Sir Warrior". Post Express. July 2, 1999.
  2. ^ Meaning of Obinna in Nigerian.name
  3. ^ Obi, Felix. "Whither Nigerian Music?" NigeriaWorld.com. February 27, 2005. Retrieved on January 12, 2006, from http://nigeriaworld.com/articles/2005/feb/271.html.
  4. ^ NBC link to the Heartland FM of Imo State
  5. ^ Alabi, Garba. "Sir Warrior Sings Again Through Sons". Guardian. October 6, 1999.

See also

  • Opara, D. Heavy on the Highlife: Nigeria's Dr. Sir Warrior and the Oriental Brothers International. New York: Original, 1990.
  • Wale, P. The Highlife Years: History of Highlife Music in Nigeria. Ibadan: Effective, 1995.
  • Dr Sir Warrior in youtube



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