Celestine Obiaker was born in Eastern Nigeria in 1940. He started making a name for himself at the age of 20 with Mike Ejeagha’s Paradise Rhythm band in Enugu, then went on to form his own short-lived Music Royals just before the start of the Biafran war. He relaunched his career after the war with his poetic, laid back brand of highlife that bucked the faster, rawer Igbo highlife of the time and drew on Igbo folklore for his lyrics. His 11-strong Philosophers National band featured a piano and the occasional pedal steel guitar!
Celestine died in a road accident in the late 70s before the age of 40. There were so many great Igbo highlife artists, but it is often said that if Rex Lawson ruled in the 60s, then Celestine Ukwu ruled the 70s.