His showmanship, his trumpet,the immaculate white handkerchief and his urbane comportment are among the features that defined his image and stood him out. He had his fans among all socioeconomic classes and age groups.
Dr Victor Abimbola Olaiya OON, bestrode the highlife music terrain affecting generation after generation with his melodious and soothing evergreen songs. During his active years he dictated the pace of highlife music with his calm and ballad like orchestration. It didn’t take him long as he took the center stage during the visit of Queen Elizabeth 11 to Nigeria in 1956. In 1960 his band was the official band that played during Nigeria’s Independence. Also in 1963 when Nigeria became a republic he shared the same stage with Louis Armstrong.
Dr Victor Olaiya was the Evil Genius that had a unique dress sense with his golden trumpet and white handkerchief the symbol of his success.
His ability to pen down philosophical melodies, love songs, and songs touching on socioeconomic issues and vanities of life stood him out. He was one musician who was able to adapt traditional music of different tribes in his highlife repertoire.
Oh yes I have some of my all time favorite among his songs.
His song Ilu Le first released in the 60’s talk about the adverse austerity bitting hard on the Nigerian masses and the different coping strategies taken to overcome it.
In Aiye Soro he admonishes those who have everything going for them to soft pedal because nobody knows when the pendulum can swing back.
The song Gbasolode sang in Urhobo is a love song where the lover man Victor tells his lover to stay with him through thick and thin.
In Adogan he lamented the perceived sweet pain of pint sized men who are into relationships with fat women satirizing their perceived suffering.
One could feel a sizzling thrill in his Ghanaian songs like Yabonsa, Anyako koro ( in collaboration with ET Mensah).
His song Iye Jemila sang in Ijebu dialect talks about Bride Price.
His lamentation for the dead could be felt in the dirge EWELE We Ku EWELE
One will feel a touch of folklore in songs like Pariboto Riboto, Lekeleke . Etc
Soro Jeje Fun Arugbo is a song that should prick the conscience of those who carelessly disregard the aged in the society.
He dedicated a special love song titled Omo Pupa to fair skinned ladies where he promised them ticket money to meet him in London.
One cannot ever get tired of listening to his Baby Jowo which has been sang and rebranded by different artistes and bands.
The song Se Fun Mi which he dedicated to one of his wives shows Victor Olaiya professing intense love and affection to his wife Bimbo.
It has been 4 years without our Victor but his memory lingers on.