Discography of Nelly Uchendu

Nelly Uzonna Uchendu gained fame as a talented modernizer of traditional Igbo folk music from Umuchu, Aguata LGA, Enugu State, but her career has touched at least three other bases in the Nigerian music scene - highlife, English-language "pop" and Christian religious music. Uchendu's career blossomed during the regime of old Anambra State Governor Jim Nwobodo (79-83), who was rumored to be her paramour. During this period she also had a highly-praised appearance in London with Warrior and his Original Oriental Brothers.

Uchendu passed away in May, 2005. The Sun [Lagos] wrote:

"To many the name Nelly Uchenna may not ring a bell, but hum the song " Love Nwantiti" and smiles would spread on the faces of your listeners. "Love Nwantiti" was that hit song that brought prominence to Nelly Uchendu,...

"...Nelly, who lived all her life in Enugu, would also be remembered for "Waka," another hit song that clearly established her as the Golden Voice of the Nigerian music industry. Honoured with the National Honour, Member of the Order of the Niger (MON), Nelly Uchendu, whose last moment on earth was spent battling the Anambra State government for gratuity, joined her ancestors after a brief illness. The news of her death like a wild fire sent shock waves across the land. King Sunny Ade, who spoke to Showtime, expressed shock at the news but prayed that her soul be granted eternal rest in the bosom of the Lord...

"...Last Friday was blackout for the music industry as friends, relations and colleagues gathered in Ogidi for the final burial rites. It was tears galore. Emotions were high. Sadness and agony were in the faces of the people around. That was at Ogidi, Anambra State, at the burial of Mrs. Nelly Uzonna Ikpeze (Nee Uchendu) MON, the popular actress and musician who died and was buried last weekend in her husband's place. Nelly died at the age of 55 after a brief illness. It was a very solemn ceremony as her family, colleagues, friends and well-wishers assembled to pay her last respects, and it was tribute galore, as well.

"Nelly's last journey commenced on Thursday, May 19, 2005, when a wake-keep was held for her in her husband's house, in Ogidi, which was marked with Christian songs and rendition. Then came Friday, May 20, 2005, her final journey with a church service at Ebenezer Anglican Church, Ogidi. First the body of Nelly was received into the churchyard by the officiating priests. Sentences interspersed with Abu 142 and Abu 218. Prayers were said for the repose to her soul. Psalm 90 was read to console the bereaved, while the lesson for the service was taken from Revelation 7 verse 9 to the end.

"After this, the grave was consecrated for the final committal of her body. As her body was being lowered into her final resting place, her relations, friends, colleagues and well-wishers could no longer control themselves. They allowed their tears to flow freely. Some of her close friends including Senator Joy Emordi and Onyeka Onwenu cried like little babies... Her bosom friend Senator Joy Emordi, in her tribute described Nelly's death as 'very sad.' She said death was 'so unfair to a loving gentle lady' like Nelly. She however promised to ensure that her two children are well taken care of. "Her colleagues, members of Association of Female Musicians (in Nigeria), led by their president Onyeka Onwenu, were fully represented and in their tribute they lamented how sad it would be for them to miss Nelly's company. Also in attendance was PMAN President, Charlie Boy."

In recent years Uchendu had devoted herself solely to Christian devotional music, typified by Sing Praises [RASLPS 132]. I was unable to track down any recordings for the period 1982-1995, although they undoubtedly exist. Information on these is much appreciated. - John Beadle

Nelly Uchendu
Love Nwantinti (LP; label & reference number unknown)
[A] ?
[B] ?

Nelly Uchendu
Aka Bu Eze (LP; Homzy [Enugu, Nigeria] HCE 012)
[A] Aka Bu Eze / Oma Bu Nwunyem / Udo Ego
[B] Chukwu Nyelum Onu / Nwa Bialu Ije Nno / Elozekwana Nwanne Gi

Nelly Uchendu
Mamausa (LP; Afrodisia [Lagos] DWAPS 2066)
[A] Mamausa Pt. 1 / Jesu Chelum / Ugbo Ndi Oma
[B] Mamausa Pt. 2 / Okwu Di Nlo / Kpokube Olisa

Nelly Uchendu
I'll Be Near (LP; Afrodisia [Lagos] DWAPS 2075)
[A] I'll Be Near / Can't Part From You / I Believe
[B] Show Me / You Made Me Love You / I Can Hear Your Song

Sonny Oti & his Group
Late Nite Husband (LP; Homzy [Enugu, Nigeria] HCE 013)
[A] Late Nite Husband
[B] Afo Ekwegh Ukwu Zuo Ike / Ochi Abugh Uto
-- Uchendu sings lead on the title track & supporting vocals on the other tunes.

Nelly Uchendu Odum (MON)
Ogadili Gi Nma (LP; Afrodisia [Lagos] DWAPS 2168)
[A] Ogadili Gi Nma / Ezi Gbo Dim
[B] Yeghe Yeghe / Akwa Alili / Nga Meji Eru Uwa

Nellie Uzonna Uchendu (M.O.N.)
Sing Praises (LP; Rogers All Stars [Onitsha, Nigeria] RASLPS 132)
[A] Cheta Tikue Jehova / Ekwnesu Adago / Sing Praises
[B] Nnachebe M / Ebe Obibi / Nye Ya Kele

-- This discography was compiled, in collaboration with Toshiya Endo, by John Beadle at P.O. Box 100174, Milwaukee, WI 53210 USA. For weblog, visit (http://likembe.blogspot.com/), and E-mail to John Beadle

Last updated on June 24, 20050

Thanks to ... Maurice O. Ene