Iconic Nigerian highlife music superstar, Oliver de Coque is honored by Google Doodle on his 74th posthumous birthday 14 April.
From Nnewi Anambra state, South-East Nigeria, Oliver de Coque hit the Nigerian music scene with the release of his first album Messiah Messiah in 1977 and went on to deliver dozens of albums during his lifetime.
Real name Sunday Akanite, he was a master guitarist, vocalist and entertainer. His jet black, curly and shiny beard remains an emblem of his uniqueness. Akanite was a skilled player of the board game okwe, which is how he got the nickname “Oliver de ka Okwe,” which he later adapted to his stage name, Oliver de Coque.
Oliver de Coque was one of the most popular musicians in Nigeria and also one of the country’s recognizable faces by the 1990s. His brand of music, energetic and rhythmic, is a mash of modern highlife, traditional Igbo and Congolese soukous music deeply rooted in the Ogene instrument. He toured the world with his band and played all over Nigeria.
Oliver de Coque’s flamboyance on stage and his singing attracted the who’s who in the world of business, captains of industries and social organizations that all wanted to be mentioned in his songs. He produced notable songs that include ‘Biri Ka Mbiri’, ‘People’s Club of Nigeria’, ‘Nempi Social Club’, ‘Ana Enwe’, ‘Nnukwu Mmanwu’, ‘Identity’, which was on Radio Nigeria 2’s Top Ten for most of 1981.
In 1994, in recognition of his prodigious music achievement, Oliver de Coque was awarded an honorary doctorate in music by the University of New Orleans.
Oliver de Coque passed on 20th June in 2008.