By Waliu Adeyeri
Google, today, celebrates the 74th posthumous birthday of a Nigerian music icon, Oliver de Coque, with a doodle.
Oliver was crowned the Highlife King of Africa for being revered as one of Africa’s most prolific traditional highlife musician.
Oliver was born on April 14, 1947 in the small town of Ezinifite in southeastern Nigeria. Oliver whose real name is 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.
The music legend died in 2008 after he had laid the foundation for the genre of Igbo music he named Ogene.
“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, which he called Ogene.”
Also, “In 1994, in recognition of his prodigious music achievement, de Coque was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by the University of New Orleans.”
In celebration of the achievements of this African legend, Google contracted the production of the doodle to a Lagos-based guest artist, Ohab TBJ.
Responding to the question on what inspired the design, Ohab TBJ said:
“Although I’ve always been familiar with Oliver De Coque’s music, I did more research to try to understand the late artist more. I noticed in particular Oliver De Coque’s love for the guitar, his energy while performing, his unique style of music, as well as his love for his tradition and culture – all of which inspired the Doodle art.”
Also, Ohab says he believes the doodle will pave way to many African Artist to learn from his success story.
“I believe that Oliver De Coque paved the way for so many African artists of this generation. I also believe that there’s much more to the late high-life artist than we know, and that history hasn’t done enough to honor his memory. My hope is that this Doodle can highlight his story.”