With Osadebe Fest, which was unveiled at a media parley in Lagos last weekend, the memory of the late highlife maestro, Chief Osita Osadebe, is set for revival.
Anambra State-born Hilary Ikechukwu Oranu and Afam Prince Dozie, who believe that the legacy of Igbo culture, tradition and lifestyle left behind by the music icon should not perish with his demise, are the conveners of the festival.
According to Oranu, his childhood friend, Dozie, who is the visioner of the concept, brought him into the concept of immortalising the late Osadebe. “The idea of Osadebe Fest is not a child’s play. It’s a project we intend to sustain for years, and if possible, for a life time,” he said.
Speaking further at the parley that had the maestro’ son, Onyedika in attendance, Oranu explained that Osadebe should be celebrated in death, being the biggest highlife artiste from the Eastern part of Nigeria.
“Osadebe was an embodiment of culture and tradition in his kind of music. We are not his family members, we are not from his village, and we are just Igbo guys who understand our culture and our root. We understand the importance of highlife in our music and tradition, that’s why we are doing this. We were at a joint sipping some bottles of beer when the idea popped up. After putting heads together, here we are today to officially unveil the brand,” he stated.
Dozie, who revealed how ‘Osadebe Fest’ came up, passionately informed that the whole idea is not just about celebration but also to impact the young people who didn’t meet Osadebe as a person or who didn’t know what his songs were, to have an idea that the maestro was a highlife artiste.
“We were fortunate to grow up with our parents, and every morning or on Sundays, we listened to the songs and the lyrics were inspiring and educative. That even got me involve with tradition early in life. Hilary is on the same page with me. “Aside Hillary, I got guys who also believe in the same dream because we cannot do it alone. We need the Igbo in Nigeria, Igbo in Diaspora and everybody who believes that Osadebe impacted their lifestyle with his genre of music which is highlife to get involved in this project,” he posited.
For Dozie, Osadebe Fest would go online with interested persons doing any Osadebe sound track. “Finally, there would be a football tournament. There is also going to be a symposium in People’s Club of Nigeria Auditorium, the venue Osadebe had most of his shows during his lifetime. At the symposium, the elderly men (Ndi-Mgbeochie) would tell us about his music and how it was, watching him perform at the club. We’ll round off the event with musical concerts of all highlife artistes.,” he concluded.