Obey, Ebenezer [Chief Commander Ebenezer ]
- Gregory F. Barz
[Chief Commander Ebenezer ]
(b Idogo, 1942). Nigerian performer . At the forefront of the modernization of Jùjú music in Nigeria. Obey joined the Fatai Rolling Dollars band in 1958. He made his first recordings in Lagos in 1963 and since then has made over 90 commercially released recordings and singles. Similar in style and influence to ‘King’ Sunny Adé, Obey has an instrumentarium that includes Hawaiian steel guitar and is generally thicker, drawing on vocal call-and-response forms, reflecting his personal miliki (enjoyment) style, a combination of African and Western musical materials. Obey introduced three guitars (tenor, lead and rhythm) to the typical juju ensemble. He first appeared with his International Brothers band in 1964, introducing a slower music rooted in Yoruba drumming traditions. An accomplished guitarist, Obey long performed within the tradition of praise-singing, drawing on Christian values as well as economic and political issues. He became an international success in the 1980s with his Inter-Reformers Band which has consisted of up to 20 musicians at any given time; Obey remains the best-selling musician of modern ...