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World Music Day: Top 5 Nigerian musicians of all-time

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By Toby Prince

Some say music is food for the soul. Others claim it gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.

But to Friedrich Nietzsche, “without music, life would be a mistake”.  Keith Richards adds that “music is a language that doesn’t speak in particular words. It speaks in emotions, and if it’s in the bones, it’s in the bones.”

To celebrate this great gift to humanity, a day was set aside – June 21 annually. In commemoration of this year’s edition, here are the top five Nigerian musicians of all-time.

5 – Wizkid

The 28-year-old represents the current generation. Wizkid is renowned for Afropop fused with hip-hop and dancehall. With numerous awards to his name, he is currently the most-valued singer with a net worth about N20 billion.

4 – Osita Osadebe

Osadebe was as an Igbo highlife musician from Atani. His career spanned over 40 years, and he is stil one of the best known Igbo highlife musicians. His best-known hit was 1984 single “Osondi Owendi” (Igbo: One man’s meat is another man’s poison.)

3 – 2face Idibia

Born Innocent Idibia, 2face led the revolution in the new millennium’s turn. 2baba, as he is called these days, is still relevant after almost three decades. He is one of the most decorated and successful Afro-pop artists in Africa.

2 – King Sunny Ade

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Sunny leads the way in the West African musical style jùjú. The first African pop musicians to gain international success, he has been called one of the most influential musicians of all time. Mr Ade began his career in the 1960s and doesn’t seem like quitting any time soon.

1 – Fela Kuti

Over two decades after his death, Fela Kuti is still the biggest music act to come out of the country. A multi-instrumentalist, musician, composer, he was the pioneer of the Afrobeat music genre. At the height of his popularity, he was referred to as one of Africa’s most “challenging and charismatic music performers.

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