Global tech giant, Google has celebrated the 74th posthumous birthday of Nigerian highlife artiste and guitarist, King (Dr.) Chief Oliver de Coque with a customized doodle on the home page of its search engine.
Doodles are the fun, surprising, and sometimes spontaneous changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries, and the lives of famous artists, pioneers, and scientists.
The Doodle, illustrated by Lagos-based guest artist Ohab TBJ, pays tribute to Nigerian musician Oliver de Coque on his 74th birthday. Crowned the “Highlife King of Africa,” he is widely revered as one of the continent’s most prolific recording artists.
An insight into his early years shows that the Nigerian guitarist King (Dr.) Chief Oliver de Coque, born Oliver Sunday Akanite is one of Africa’s most prolific recording artists. Since releasing his debut album Messiah Messiah in 1977, Coque has recorded no fewer than 73 albums in his homeland.
His dance-inspiring “Ogene” style of Nigerian highlife, which blends modern highlife and traditional Igbo music, has produced such hits as “Biri Ka Mbiri,” “Ana Enwe,” “Naukwa Mmwanwu,” and “Identity,” which remained on Radio Nigeria 2’s Top Ten throughout most of 1981.
Playing music since the age of 11, Coque was taught to play the guitar by Piccolo, a Zairean guitarist living in Nigeria. Serving an apprenticeship with juju stars Sunny Agaga and Jacob Oluwale, making him a star by his late teens. Attracting international attention with a London performance in 1973, he played on Prince Nico Mbarga’s album Sweet Mother four years later. Coque is often backed by his brother Eugene’s Igede International Band.
The talented Nigerian musician died on June 20 in 2008. He had a sudden cardiac arrest that led to his death.