Highlife music icon, Kabaka is dead

Highlife music legend, Godwin Opara, famously known as Kabaka, has passed away at the age of 77.

Kabaka, who made a remarkable return from a two-decade hiatus with his celebrated “Abialam” album in September 2023, has left a lasting legacy in the realm of highlife music.

The management team of Derda Promotions confirmed the sad news of the music icon’s demise. Amarachi Anyanwu, the Chief Operating Officer of Derda Promotions, announced the passing of Kabaka in a statement released on Friday morning.

The statement read, “Derda Promotions is deeply saddened to announce the passing of our esteemed artist, Godwin Kabaka Opara, an icon who pioneered and revolutionised Highlife music, on March 21st, 2024.”

His death comes barely six months after his return to the highlife music scene.

Kabaka was not only a gifted highlife artist but also a renowned songwriter and guitarist whose melodies resonated deeply with legions of admirers.

In 1973, he co-established The Oriental Brothers International Band, a Highlife force celebrated for its socially conscious lyrics, musical prowess, and authentic sound that captivated audiences across Africa and beyond.

Kabaka began his solo career in 1976, when he formed The Kabaka International Guitar Band. He continued to make high-quality Highlife music, releasing fourteen albums and producing successes such as ‘Mangala Special’.

Displaying his versatility and creativity, Kabaka delved into Ezebongo rhythms, pushing the boundaries of musical expression. Subsequently, he collaborated with The Imo City Band, solidifying his legacy as an indomitable Highlife luminary.

His comeback in September 2023, marked by the release of the album ‘The Return of Kabaka’, garnered over a million streams and secured a place among the top 100 albums worldwide.

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