The Life and times of music legend, Majek Fashek
It’s a sad day for the music industry in Nigeria as Music Legend, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, has died at the age of 57.
His death was confirmed by his manager, Omenka Uzoma, who called on Nigerians to celebrate rather than mourn the reggae icon, who was dubbed the Rainmaker, as his contribution to the music industry was great.
Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, was a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist.
He is best known in his home country for the 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience, which included the multiple award-winning single “Send Down the Rain”.
Also known as The Rainmaker, he has worked with various artists worldwide, including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé.
Born in Benin City to an Edo Mother and Ijesha father, Fashek identified more with his Benin roots.
In the early eighties Fashek, who at the time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix.
They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin, and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators.
In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, who now used the name Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and quickly became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song “Send Down The Rain” became the most popular song of the year, and in 1989 he won six PMAN awards for “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Reggae Artist of the Year” among others.
Fashek’s next album was I&I Experience which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi Label.
Fashek’s musical influences include Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Fela Kuti.
He was one of the original Nigerian artists to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji, jùjú, but has been known to mix these genres into his own style which he calls kpangolo, and the song “My Guitar”, an ode to his favourite instrument, was also heavily influenced by rock.
In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction.
After admitting that he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation centre in Abuja, but recovered, and returned to music.
Besides his struggle with drug addiction, other health conditions required his hospitalization on several occasions.
He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that Majek had indeed been critically ill, hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England.
The death of Majek Fashek, confirmed by his manager, Omenka Uzoma, is a blow to the Nigeria music industry as he had plans of having a concert in the country.
His music will forever remain indelible in the minds of fans of Kpangolo music.