Legendary highlife singer is dead

Kabaka's management, Derda Promotions, broke the news on Friday.

Highlife maestro Godwin Opara.

Highlife maestro Godwin Opara, popularly called Kabaka, who ended a two-decade hiatus in September 2023 with the "Abialam" album, is dead.

He was 77.

His management, Derda Promotions, said the music icon who pioneered and revolutionised Highlife music died on Thursday.

Ammarachi Anyanwu, chief operating officer of Derda Promotions, revealed this in a statement on Friday morning.

"Kabaka was a talented and beloved songwriter and guitarist who brought joy to countless fans with his infectious highlife music," Ms Anyanwu said.

She, however, didn't reveal the cause of his death.

Highlife maestro Godwin Opara.

Kabaka's musical journey spanned several decades, genres, and bands.

He co-founded The Oriental Brothers International Band in 1973, a Highlife powerhouse known for its socially conscious lyrics, instrumental mastery, and authentic sound that resonated with millions across Africa and beyond.

Rewarding career

In 1976, Kabaka embarked on a solo career, forming The Kabaka International Guitar Band.

He continued to produce high-quality Highlife music, releasing fourteen albums and creating hits like "Mangala Special," which earned him a  prestigious award.

He also experimented with Ezebongo rhythms, showcasing his versatility and creativity. Later, he joined forces with The Imo City Band, further solidifying his status as a Highlife legend.

With the support of Derda Promotions, Kabaka made a triumphant return in September 2023 with the album "The Return of Kabaka." which had over a million streams and trended as one of the top 100 albums worldwide.

Highlife maestro Godwin Opara.

"Kabaka's passion for music was infectious, and his dedication to his craft was an inspiration to all who knew him. He will be deeply missed by his Derda Promotions family, his family, fans, and all who had the pleasure of knowing him," his management noted.


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