11th June, 2022
By Nehru Odeh/Jethro Ibileke
Foremost Edo-born highlife musician, Ambassador Osayomore Joseph. is dead.
He reportedly died in the morning of Saturday, 11 June, 2022.
News of the death of the veteran musician was first sighted on social media in Benin, the State capital.
The Administrator/Governor of Perfoming Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), in the State, Comrade Willy Eghe-Nova, has however confirmed the passing of the veteran musician.
“Sadly, PMAN has this Saturday afternoon, June 11, 2022, lost a great member and music legend, Ambassador Osayomore Joseph.
“May his creative soul rest in peace,” Eghe-Nova wrote in a statement on Saturday.
It would be recalled that residents of Benin on Monday woke up on 7 June, 2021, to the rumours of the death of the popular highlife musician.
His fans had started sending condolence messages to his family, when family members debunked the rumoured death of the singer.
Osayomore Joseph and his daughter, Uwa, later that day in a Facebook live post, dismissed the rumour, describing it as “work of rumour mongers.”
“The people spreading the fake rumour are mad. I have been receiving calls from different individuals. They are mad,” Osayomore Joseph had said.
Similarly, Uwa, daughter of the now deceased musician had while denying the death of her father, said: “My dad is not dead, you can hear and see him in this live video.
Osayomore Joseph was an electric highlife musician whose music ruled the air waves in the late 1980s, 90s and the 2000s. Some of his favourites hits include; “Efewedo, ” “Ororo No Dey Fade” and “Soja Go Soja Come.”
One of the early pioneers of African popular highlife music, he sang in Pidgin English and his native Edo language. His music not only reached a wide audience but he also had a very large fan base.
Joseph’s music themed with social and political views and was known for his educational, anti-corruption and government critical lyrics. He never showed any interest in religion and was always proud of his heritage.
His outright denunciation of corruption, bad governance and injustice in songs like “Son of a Thief,” “Army of Freedom,” and especially “Baba Na Wa” won him the Edo people’s long term loyalty and love and inspired an ongoing tradition of Edo state activist musicians.