Biography of Osayomore Joseph-Obaland Royal Award,Honouree 2018

Osayomore Joseph, popularly called Amb.Osayomore Joseph is an ace Nigerian highlife musician,  one of the early pioneers of Africa popular highlife music, . His albums has been cited as  an example of popular highlife music by international publishers, libraries entertainment webs, all round the world, alongside artistes like King sunny Ade, Sir Victor Uwaifo. Born in Benin city (Edo State), He left secondary school in the early 60’s to become a member of Nigerian Army in 1969, where he studied music with the Nigerian army music school in Lagos. Most of his international hit vinyl recordings like ‘Baba na wa, Leave us alone, Evil days postponed’ were sang in pidgin English. The ace musician was abducted on the 3rd October 2017,  by unknown  armed men along  Upper Ekehuan road in Egor Local Government Area, Edo state, on his way home from a musical performance along with his wife,  at about 10 pm. His wife sustained a gunshot wound to the head during the kidnap, she was moved to a hospital where she responded to treatment. His captors demanded a ransom of N200m (Naira)  for his release, to gain freedom on 2nd of November 2018.Osayomore’s reputation as a freedom fighter, an activist musician with a long history of criticizing corruption in local and national politics. The respect he commanded in his local community made his kidnapping  more surprising, the tragic incident was an international doom. fuelling the cry of global entertainers worldwide to campaign through music and national manifest   for his rapid freedom.

Finally, his family and supporters worked out an agreement to secure his freedom. They had to sell a student hostel he owned in Benin City and borrow money to raise the ransom of 11 million naira (approx. $30,500 USD) in a sack, subsequently hired a boat to meet the kidnappers on the high seas. The money was handed over to the Kidnappers, the legendary   Osayomore left on the same boat,  his rescuers had hired, and he spent the next two weeks recovering in a hospital in Benin City.

Just over a month later, in December 2017, he released a new album, 30 Days and 30 Nights in the Evil Forest  , the album was released by (Supreme Disk), a document of his experience in that swamp. The album has three long tracks, interspersed with spoken dialogue between Osayomore and a friend, produced in the current production style of Edo highlife: prominent, driving bass and drums, harsh vocals in the foreground of the mix. The first song, “Aisiokuoba,” uses a traditional Edo proverb: “You dare not invoke the king’s wars upon yourself, he is not alone.”

In 2018, he was honoured by Obaland Royal Award for Best Africa Highlife musician 2018.

  1. NPR -Music news
  2. Western Post
  3. Punch Newspaper
  4. Obaland Royal Awards.


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