Music legend, Sir Victor Uwaifo passed away at the age of 80 years old.
In his lifetime, Uwaifo was a prolific songwriter, sculptor, music and instrument inventor.
Popularly known as ‘Guitar boy’, the legendary Nigerian died after a brief illness.
Uwaifo was honoured with the National Merit Honours of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
.Uwaifo obtained a B.A. Honors (first-class valedictorian), Masters’s degree and Ph.D. in Architectural Sculpture, University of Benin (UNIBEN).
Sir Victor lectured at the UNIBEN’s Department of Fine and Applied Art.
The ‘Guitar boy’ as he was fondly called celebrated his 80th birthday in March.
Uwaifo is also the first professional musicians to be awarded the National Merit Honours of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
He was the country’s first Commissioner for Arts, Culture, and Tourism and winner of the first gold disc in Africa (Joromi), released in 1965
He was the winner of the first gold disc in Africa (Joromi) released in 1965 and seven other gold discs in Guitar boy, Arabade, Ekassa series and Akwete music.
He recorded under the name Victor Uwaifo and His TItibitis.
He was recognized as the most educated performing music legend, musical instrument inventor, artist, worldwide with a B. An Honors (first-class valedictorian), Masters degree and Ph.D.. in Architectural Sculpture from the University of Benin in NigeriaMusic legend, Sir Victor Uwaifo has passed away. He was 80 years old.
Legendary singer and guitarist, Sir Victor Uwaifo, ‘Guitar Boy’, as he was popularly called, died six months after celebrating his 80th birthday in March.
Uwaifo was the first musician in Nigeria to be awarded the National Merit Honours of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON).
Born in Benin on March 1, 1941, Uwaifo was one of the foremost highlife musicians in Nigeria. He was a trained sculptor, philosopher, poet, and musical instrument inventor. His ‘Joromi’, hit song released in 1965, won for Nigeria the first Gold Disc Record ever to come out of the continent of Africa in a competitive world. Uwaifo is the first Benin man to receive the Nigerian National Honours; Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) in 1983, for his contributions to creativity and industry.
He was appointed and sworn in as Justice of the Peace (JP) 1990. He is also the first and foremost Honourable Commissioner for Arts, Culture and Tourism in Nigeria (Edo State), former lecturer in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts, University of Benin. He was honored with an award in 2018 by the Association of Nigerian Musicologists for his outstanding music performance and leadership.
Uwaifo stands out today, intellectually sound both in mind and body as the most educated performing music icon in the world and the most read contemporary superstar still relevant over 50 years on stage till date. He has over 600 songs and 100 records to his credit with 8 gold and 2 silver awards. Each record is the music of serious research and philosophical work equivalent to an academic journal. He’s a member of the Performing Rights Society of London (PRS), a trustee of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), and the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON). In 2016, Victor Uwaifo was inducted into the Grammy Award Museum in Los Angelis, USA. He has inspired generations of musicians in Nigeria and beyond and still counting.
During the celebration of his 80th birthday, Uwaifo described Joromi as the evergreen song which brought him international prominence. Joromi, composed in the singer’s local dialect, was a five-minute track, and had for its solo, mastery of skills on a variety of musical instruments including the electric guitar with an accompaniment of percussion and the electric piano.
He was the Silverbird Man of the Year 2015 and honourary Fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Letters, the highest literary academic body in Nigeria. Education: National Diploma (Graphics}, Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, 1963, BA Hon (First Class), 1995, Masters degree (MFA) sculpture, 1997, Ph.D. (Visual Arts), University of Benin, Nigeria. Project Title: Production of Architectural Sculpture in Nigeria: A Re-Invention of Ancient Benin Royal Altar Pieces into Contemporary Art Using Synthetic Polymer Materials
Uwaifo also made use of vocals in making beats, which added more flavor to the song. The song, based on a folktale of the ancient Bini people tells the story of an undefeated warrior, named Joromi who had wrestled and defeated rivals until he was the ultimate warrior on earth. Without any more rivals, he decided to take the battle to the afterlife. Against the counsel of the elders, the fearsome Joromi engaged in battle with a warrior from the afterlife. This personal quest led to his end as he neither returned nor did the people of Bini till this day hear any news about him.
However, 52 years after ‘Joromi’ ruled the airwave, Uwaifo still regards the song as his greatest hit to date. Little wonder, the living legend once sued singer Simi for N50 million for using the word ‘Joromi’ in her song and as the title of one of her tracks.