Yesterday, I was shocked to hear the passing away of one of Nigeria’s musical legends I’ve always loved and cherished. She stood toe to toe musically with her male counterparts in the 80s and her 1981 “Ever Liked My Person” LP took her beyond the shores of Africa.
Christy Uduak Essien-Igbokwe born on 11th November 1960, was the Nigeria’s lady of songs. During her heyday she was the grand dame of Nigerian pop music, and nicknamed the ‘First Lady of Song’. She began her musical career in Secondary School singing at various clubs. In 1976 she joined the satirical NTA series Masquerade. Her short role in that popular sitcom put her to the limelight and in 1977 she launched a professional music career, aged 17.
Many of her albums became hit records, but none came close to the success of her 1981 hit album “Ever Liked My Person” which had the massive hit track “Seun Rere” produced by Lemmy Jackson. She helped put Nigeria’s name on the world music map with this evergreen track.
Always at the forefront of issues affecting women and children, she played remarkable roles in some of the early Nollywood flicks such as Flesh and Blood and Scars of Womanhood, both of which addressed issues of child abuse and female circumcision.
With a desire to make life better for Nigerian artists, she is credited as having initiated the first meeting that brought about the formation of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, PMAN in 1981. A year later, PMAN was founded and King Sunny Ade became the president with the late Sonny Okosuns as his vice, while she was the National Treasurer. Between 1996 and 1999, she became the first female PMAN president.
Her Honours include Nigerian lady of songs award, Africa music mother award 1984, international special achievement award Mexico 1983 world song festival award Los Angeles queen of music international award association of theatre arts practitioners Lagos 1996 outstanding achievement in female uplifting, just to mention a few. She has also contributed enormously to nation building, peace and tolerance – which, alongside moral uprightness, remain constant themes of her songs.
Till her death, she was the chairman and managing director of Soul Train entertainment limited. She had her Golden Jubilee last year November 11. She was our Golden Diva.
I hope you enjoy the songs put up as a tribute to the Diva; her music will forever be with us.
R.I.P. Christie Essien Igbokwe
Christy Essien Igbokwe – Ever Liked My Person
Christie Essien Igbokwe – Ife
Christie Essien Igbokwe – Ka Anyi Gba Egwu
Christie Essien Igbokwe – Seun Rere
Christie Essien Igbokwe – Shooby Shooby
Christie Essien Igbokwe – Teta Nu Na Ula