Oliver Sunday Akanite (14 April 1947 – 20 June 2008), better known by the stage name Oliver De Coque, was a Nigerian guitarist and one of Africa’s most prolific recording artists.
Early life and career
De Coque was born in Ezinifite, Anambra State, Nigeria, in 1947, to an Igbo family. He started playing music at the age of 11 and was taught to play the guitar by a Congolese guitarist living in Nigeria. De Coque was an apprentice of juju musicians Sunny Agaga and Jacob Oluwale and became locally well known by the time he was a teenager.
De Coque received international attention after performing in London in 1973, and his guitar work was featured in Price Nico Mbarga’s 1977 album Sweet Mother.
His debut album, Messiah Messiah, was released in 1977. In total, De Coque recorded 93 albums. Many of his songs were noted to be in the ogene genre, blending modern music with traditional Igbo harmonies. Singles included “People’s Club of Nigeria”, “Nempi Social Club”, “Biri Ka Mbiri”, “One Enwe”, “Nnukwu Mmanwu” and “Identity”, the latter of which spent several weeks on Radio Nigeria 2’s Top Ten in 1981.
In addition to his solo work, De Coque frequently played with the Igede International Band, led by his brother Eugene.