The Legendary Dr Orlando Owoh
Leaving your mark on the Nigerian music industry is not easy. It requires genius, commitment, and vision. Many songs, albums, and music videos produced in the industry do not withstand the test of time. Orlando Owoh, however, was an outstanding highlife musician and bandleader whose music is still loved today.
Highlife is a music genre that originated in Ghana early in the 20th century. It uses the melodic and main rhythmic structures of traditional Akan music but is played with Western instruments — a deliberate move away from the conventional ballroom dances of the waltz, foxtrot, and cha-cha.
Owoh created 45 albums over a 40-year career. Many of his songs remain favorites of the Nigerian audience. Among his chain of evergreen songs is “Logba Logba,” his most popular song.
“Logba Logba,” found on the album of the same name, was produced by Owoh and his African Kenneries Beats International. The album was released under the Gasola Records Nig. Ltd label. The song warns of the dangers of wasting one’s time on earth. It advises listeners to spend their time wisely:
Eda ti logba o fi te rare lorun
Eda ti logba o fi se rare le se
Eje ka logba rere si le d’omo wa
Ka le roro so leyi wa ola
This means “Man has used his time to please himself / Man has used his time to harm himself / Let us use time wisely / Leaving to our children a good report / So we can have a say in the future.”
“Logba Logba” also admonishes the rich to use their wealth for the benefit of the poor:
A o gba lowo alaini fun eni to ni
Nipase eni to ni lalaini ma ti jere
Tori opo eniyan la se da e lola
Tori talika la se bukun e
Ma fola la omo alaini loju
Dakun ma se jiya iwo omo alainibaba
This means “We will take from the one who lacks and give to one who has / The person who lacks will benefit from the person who has / It is for the sake of the multitude of people that you were given riches / It is because of the poor that you were blessed / Don’t use your wealth to make the one who doesn’t have jealous / Please do not suffer, you fatherless child.”
Dr Orlando Owoh’s real name was Stephen Oladipupo Owomoyela. He was born in Osogbo in Osun State, Nigeria, on February 14, 1932. He formed the Omimah Band and later the Young Kenneries Band and the African Kenneries Beats International Band. Although Fuji and Juju music eventually became more popular than highlife, Owoh’s songs remain among the best products of the Nigerian music industry. They are still appreciated by both young and old.
Dr Orlando Owoh died on November 4, 2008, and was laid to rest at his residence in Agege, Lagos. He remains in our hearts as the legend that he truly was. May his soul rest in peace.
Adekemi Faturoti is an avid lover of art. She has a peculiar interest in music and fashion. Faturoti is presently in her penultimate year studying law at the University of Lagos and has an appreciable knowledge of intellectual property, particularly patent and copyright. Adekemi Faturoti aims to be a renowned writer.
March 18, 2019