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1x Vinyl LP 180g Printed Innersleeve
Jan 1, 2011
Born on June 28 1936, in Edikwu Village, Oturkpo, Idoma Division, Benue Plateau State, Nigeria, Ray Stephen Oche comes from a family of musicians, singers and flute players. His ancestors and folks were undisputed celebrities in the many music festivals of his native region, especially in the 30's, and Ray just followed with amazing ease and talent, the path they had so gloriously thread.
From the tender age of 8, Ray was already an outstanding flute player in his village school band. Soon after, Ray joined local bands and became a first rate Obinde singer and started travelling extensively, visiting every part of Northern Nigeria, where he entertained Idoma communities.
In 1953, Ray arrived in Lagos and quickly found his way into the best musician's circles, joining Stephen Amechi's and, later on, Bobby Benson's groups. Shortly after he found his own band, Ray Stephen Oche & His Orchestra, and quickly performed in Kano, Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu, Aba, Port Harcourt or Ibadan. Coming back to Lagos, Ray decides to go to Accra (Ghana), where he achieved his musical studies at Ghana Military School of Music and, later, became a favourite of late Kwame N'Krumah. While staying in Accra, Ray met the world famous drummer and percussionist, Guy Warren, who is supposed to have delivered Ray with the secret of the authentic African rhythms.
In March 63, Ray returned to Lagos, where he collaborated with Chris Ajilo & His Cubanos, before forming his own new band, Outter Space, with which he toured Sierra Leone. That's also where he ended invited to perform a series of private shows for the prime minister. Ray then visited Gambia, Senegal and then Paris, where he arrived in 1965. He and his band performed all over Europe in Switzerland, Spain, Italy, France, etc…
After the memorable "Festival de Montparnasse" in 1970, Ray Stephen Oche joined Alan Silva & His Celestial Communications Orchestra for several shows and festivals. In 1971, he collaborated with Noah Howard Quartet and played for the Copenhagen Radio, the University or the famous "Montpartre Jazz Club". After having worked successfully in Germany and Holland, Ray came back in Paris where he raised his Freedom Suite Orchestra, this time bringing him to Algeria or Tunisia.
Famous in many Jazz circles and at the SACEM, Ray is now leading the Ray Stephen Oche & His Matumbo (in Angolese language, Matumbo means: "Gifted with various talents"). This band is composed mainly of African musicians from Congo, Togo, Guinea or Gambia, but also with others from Brazil or French West Indians. The band main purpose was to shed more lights on the diversity of African melodies and rhythms.
As a calm, gentle and discrete person, Ray answers very genuinely when questioned about his beliefs: "Of course I believe in God!!" This makes even more sense when you know that his real name, Owoicho Oche, means "God is the King".
Alaglanu - Alaglano
Okwukwu - Kiwongo
Ikwunmokon - Okoitiho
Daybreak On The Niger