Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music
(b Victor Abimbola Olaiya, '20s, Ijebuu, Nigeria) Singer, composer, trumpeter. Known to his fans as the 'Evil Genius' of highlife, he began with Bobby Benson, playing a mixture of waltzes, quicksteps, boleros, chachachas, highlifes, but following E. T. Mensah's infl. tour of Nigeria in the early '50s left and formed his own Cool Cats, concentrating on highlife. His fame grew with hits and he was asked to play at Nigeria's independence celebrations '60; by this time the band had been renamed the All Stars, Victor Uwaifo and Fela Kuti passing through in early '60s, the period reflected in compilation In The Sixties. During the decline in highlife late '60s, Olaiya, a Yoruban, was one of the few Nigerians who continued to make a living from it. By the '70s he had his own night club in Lagos, the Papingo, and also active in the various musicians' unions in Nigeria. By the '80s he was fronting the ten-piece International Stars Band, maintaining popularity with live act, LPs such as compilation Highlife Reincarnation, Country Hard-O and Highlife Giants, the latter with Mensah.