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Ebenezer Obey

Ebenezer Obey

Biography

One of the masters of Juju music, Nigeria's complex mixture of drumming, electric guitars and vocals, Ebenezer Obey is a prolific recording artist whose career spans the entire existence of the style. Starting in the early 1960s with the International Brothers, Obey helped build the foundation of modern Juju by mixing blues and soul guitar riffs with Yoruba and other West African rhythms. As songs became longer, they were able to absorb unusual melodies. While the interlocking drums and percussion maintained the rhythmic pulse, the talking drum and pedal steel (Hawaiian) guitar would jump in with phrases not unlike the call-and-response vocals that characterize the style. Most lyrical themes pertain to Obey's Christian faith or praise the worthy and generous. He's enjoyed an intense yet friendly rivalry with King Sunny Ade over the years as both of them expanded the size of their bands to twenty or even thirty musicians.
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