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In 1963, he became the only African musician ever honoured by receiving membership of the Order of the British Empire, an order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. Among the Igbo people, Ghanaian highlife became popular in the early 1950s, and other guitar-band styles from Cameroon and Zaire soon followed. Bobby Benson & His Combo was the first Nigerian highlife band to find audiences across the country.
Meanwhile, highlife had been slowly gaining in popularity among the Igbo people, and their unique style soon found a national audience.Nigeria has some of the most advanced recording studio technology in Africa, and provides robust commercial opportunities for music performers.Ronnie Graham, an historian who specialises in West Africa, has attributed the success of the Nigerian music industry to the country's culture—its "thirst for aesthetic and material success and a voracious appetite for life, love and music, [and] a huge domestic market, big enough to sustain artists who sing in regional languages and experiment with indigenous styles". The African hemiola style, based on the asymmetric rhythm pattern is an important rhythmic technique throughout the continent.Nigerian music also uses ostinato rhythms, in which a rhythmic pattern is repeated despite changes in metre.