Dr OlaiyaThe transition, on Wednesday, of Dr. Victor Abimbola Olaiya represents the end of an era. The highlife maestro bestrode the music world as a colossus with volumes of evergreen tunes, which have already immortalised him. Seven years ago, the veteran musician celebrated his 60 years on stage and The Guardian, as usual, had a session during which Olaiya spoke about his life, music, and exploits. The publication is hereby reproduced as a tribute to celebrate his exit.
I had always craved for an interview with Dr. Olaiya, whom I consider one of the greatest musicians to have come out of Nigeria. So, when the news of his 60 Years on Stage celebration filtered in, I contacted my links and a chat was arranged at his Stadium Hotel, Surulere, Lagos.
Neatly dressed, as usual, Dr. Olaiya was fielding questions from a crew that was producing a documentary on his life and times when I called that evening. Clutching the trumpet and two new white handkerchiefs, the 82-year-old musician is still very active, ever ready to demonstrate his mastery of the trumpet. At his age, names, events, and dates are by his fingertips.