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Legacy of Bobby Benson & His Combos

bobby benson

Two things remain constant; change and the power of music. Music is one magical language that transcends race, class, gender, status, and every other boundary. Throughout history, music has been presented in different genres and styles, serving different purposes, and evoking different feelings and emotions within listeners.

However, not all songs outlive their era or generation. Blast from the Past has been curated to celebrate African-Diasporan songs that will forever be immortalized.

Highlife is a sound distinct to West Africa. This genre of music emerged within the late 19th century. Highlife music is characterized by culture and the use of instruments such as strings, drums and horns to create rhythmic structures that can be defined as purely African.

The two countries affiliated with the development of the highlife sound are Nigeria and Ghana. When discussing the history and creation of highlife music in Nigeria, the name Bobby Benson must not be forgotten.

The instrumentalist, composer and bandleader known as Bobby Benson helped shape the sound of highlife music in Nigeria within the 1950s.  Drawing influence from his time in Europe during World War II, Benson’s love of Western jazz music became a key factor in the creation of his music and legacy in Nigeria.

Benson would serve as a pioneer in merging Western European Jazz elements into the highlife sound native to Nigeria. Telling stories relatable to the average individual coupled with a refreshing blend of jazzy swings and African drums, Benson and his Combo’s catapulted into household names within the African diaspora.

In 1958, Benson & His Combo released a LP shellac disc featuring two songs: Taxi Driver and Onye Solu Ife Uwa. The song Taxi Driver also dubbed I Don’t Care became a classic highlife by many historians.

Addressing issues like classism and love, Taxi Driver married jazz with the highlife rhythms. The lyrics of Taxi Driver struck a sense of familiarity based on the use of Pidgin throughout the song. By cultivating a new sound unfamiliar to the continent coupled with the inclusion of a familiar dialect, Taxi driver emerged to be a household hit in homes all over Africa. 

With the song structure simply consisting of one verse and a repeating chorus, Taxi Driver is catchy, simple, and unforgettable. Riddled with instruments such as saxophones, trumpets, and trombones, the track embodies the feel and vibe of big band and jazz orchestra sound.

Get familiar with Bobby Benson & His Combo. 

The iMullar is the definitive voice of emerging African music and the lifestyle that surrounds it, showcasing exceptional talent from all around the globe focused on promoting the most distinctive new artists and original sounds, we are the authority on who is next.

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