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Celestine Ukwu

b. Celestine Obiakor, 1940, Efik, Nigeria, d. 1979, Onitsha, Nigeria. Guitarist and vocalist Ukwu was in the verge of nationwide breakthrough (along with his music group the Music Royals) when the Nigerian civil battle brought touring and documenting to a digital standstill. He re-emerged in 1970 with Philospher’s Rock, playing a calm and sensuous type of highlife which, incongruously but successfully, used pedal metal electric guitar in its agreements (a novelty afterwards followed by fellow Nigerian and juju superstar Ruler Sunny Ade). His biggest strike was the one ‘Cash Palaver’ in 1976, from Igede Fantasia. Ukwu’s untimely loss of life later that calendar year made certain that his potential was hardly ever fully realized.

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