African Musician: Ebenezer Obey

Submitted by Zenaida April 21, 2012, 3:02 a.m.

Ebenezer Obey

Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi

Ebenezer Obey (born 3 April 1942), nicknamed the "Chief Commander," is a Nigerian Jùjú musician.

Obey, whose full name is Ebenezer Remilekun Aremu Olasupo Obey-Fabiyi, was born in Idogo, Ogun State, Nigeria of Egba-Yoruba ethnic background. He is of the Owu subgroup of the Egba.

He began his professional career in the mid-1950s after moving to Lagos. After tutelage under Fatai Rolling-Dollar's band, he formed a band called The International Brothers in 1964, playing highlife-juju fusion. The band later metamorphosed into Inter-Reformers in the early-1970s, with a long list of Juju album hits on the West African Decca musical label.

Obey began experimenting with Yoruba percussion style and expanding on the band by adding more drum kits, guitars and talking drums. Obey's musical strengths lie in weaving intricate Yoruba axioms into dance-floor compositions. As is characteristic of Nigerian Yoruba social-circle music, the Inter-Reformers band excel in praise-singing for rich Nigerian socialites and business tycoons. Obey, however, is also renowned for Christian spiritual themes in his music and has since the early-1990s retired into Nigerian gospel music ministry.

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