Igbo Musical Styles (With Music Videos That Will Make You Feel Good)

The Igbo people have a melodious music style. Today we look at some homegrown music genres Igbos listen to when they want to forget their sorrows or celebrate.

You too can use Igbo music to relax and, celebrate, nod away or dance away your sorrows. Remember: Dancing is excercise, and this life na once we dey we dey live am.

Even if you are not Igbo you can still partake, for music is a universal language.

So, without further ado, we move to the first genre, the Ogene Music genre.

Ogene Music

Ogene Music is named after the Ogene musical instrument.
The Ogene, is a hand bell made of forged iron. It is used by towncriers to make special announcements. But it is also used in making percussive music like the xylophone.

Ogene is so influential to Igbo music that the traditional genre is called Ogene Genre or Ogene Music. Bare bones Ogene music can be made with just Ogene and Opi alone. But meatier Ogene music normally encompasses the full ensemble of Igbo music in this section.

  • The Igbos also have the Opi – a wind instrument. It is the Igbo version of the flute. Opi is used to belt out melodious tunes that would make the Pied Piper green with envy.
  • Traditional Igbo music incorporates several percussion instruments like the Udu, which is essentially designed from a clay jug. Udu is my favourite Igbo musical instrument.
  • Another Igbo musical instrument that is used in making melodious music is the Ekwe, which is created from a hollowed log of wood (what you see as a log of wood, the Igbo sees as music).
  • You also have the Ichaka, an instrument like a gourd with beads tied around them that is shaken to produce traditional beats. The beats of the ichaka sound like ‘chaka chaka chaka’ when it is shaken.
  • The Igba is a large Igbo drum made of wood and animal skin.

Highlife (Igbo Version)

Another popular musical genre among the Igbos is Highlife. The Igbo version of Highlife is sang in the Igbo language, and is normally a musical commentary on various issues of life.

Like in Ogene music, Highlife is often peppered with proverbs, observations and opinions of the singer and his band. You need to listen to ‘Ebiri Kam Biri’, or ‘Osondi Owendi’.

The Igbo elite like to listen to Highlife and it is not uncommon to find Igbo millionaires listening to the genre with a plate of Isiewu and their favourite drink.

The enjoyment of Highlife is not limited to men.

I have seen the wife of an Igbo millionaire who probably just got rich blasting Higlife music on the car stereo and dancing in the driver’s seat of her SUV in traffic in Lagos. Maybe their container of goods just arrived.

Legendary Highlife singers of Igbo descent include Oliver De Coque, King De Doga, Morroco Maduka, and Prince Smart Williams and Chief Osuta Osadebe.

Oliver De Coque is credited with pioneering the Ogene (Igbo) music style of Highlife.

Ariaria Music

This is mainly Gospel music sung in Igbo. Women are very dominant in this genre.

Ariaria Music Call To Action

My challenge to this genre is to give us more original songs. I have enjoyed many remixes of Ariaria Gospel songs, but I need to hear more new songs, biko nu.

I know you can do it. It is as simple as taking a verse from Psalm 23 and using it as the theme of an Ariaria Igbo worship song. Where our Igbo producer-marketers? O lue n’omume.

Call To Action

The abovementioned Highlife greats – Oliver De Coque and others – are gone. So, we need to bring up a new generation of Igbo Highlife greats.

Igbodefender.com would be interested in collaborating with culture-conscious Igbos to do Highlife/ Ogene talent hunts to fish out the next generation of talents.

Therefore, if you are interested in partnering with us for this cultural duty, contact us, anytime. Don’t say it’s been years since this article was published. It is never too late to promote Igbo culture.

And if for any reason, you feel we have not gotten back to you on time, just remind us in the comment section of this article, or on the Message button of our Facebook Page, on our Contact Form, etc. We Must Do This!

By OzoIgboNdu1 of Igbo Defender

Digital marketer and Marketing analyst