Majek Fashek

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Majek Fashek
Birth name Majekodunmi Fasheke
Born Benin City, Nigeria
Genres Reggae, roots reggae, rock
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter
Years active early 1980s—present
Labels Interscope Records
Associated acts Jastix

Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is a Nigerian reggae singer-songwriter and guitarist.[1][2] [3][4][5][6] In his homeland he is best known for the 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience which included the single "Send Down the Rain", winning him several awards. [7] Also known as The Rainmaker, [8] he has also worked with various artists worldwide including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé. [9]

Early life[edit]

Fashek was born in Benin City to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father, but identifies mainly with his Benin roots. Various translations of his name Fasheke (Ifa-kii-she-eke) include "high priest who does not lie", "powers of miracles" and "(system or medium of) divination does not lie" His real birth date is not known as both parents gave him contradicting months, and he would later adopt his musical hero Bob Marley's birthday - 6th of February - as his own. [3][4] After his parents separated he lived in Lagos with his father, a school principal who died when Fashek was ten; the latter moved back to Benin City with his mother, and soon joined the choir in his local Aladura church with his cousin future bandmate Amos McRoy Gregg and learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing songs for the choir.[10]

Musical career[edit]

Early 80's:Jastix[edit]

In the early eighties Fashek, who at the time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, Ras Kimono, and lead singer Black Rice. 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. Jastix were also session musicians for upcoming reggae singer Edi Rasta, who would later be known as Evi-Edna Ogholi.[11]

1988-1990:Prisoner of Conscience and I&I Experience[edit]

In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, who had 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 four PMAN awards which included "Song of the Year", "Album of the Year", and "Reggae Artist of the Year".[12] [13] Fashek's next album was I&I Experience which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi label.

1991:So Long Too Long and American invation[edit]

After leaving Tabansi Records, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s and released So Long Too Long. In 1990 he was signed to Interscope Records and released the critically acclaimed album Spirit Of Love, produced by "Little Steven" Van Zandt. In 1992, he appeared on Late Night with David Letterman in support of his new 1991 album, and performed the song "So Long Too Long" for the television audience.[14] Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994. He was later dropped by Interscope before moving to Mango, a division Island Records as it was more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally. His first album for the company included a cover version of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song". He has recorded several albums for various labels since, including Rainmaker for Tuff Gong (1997) and Little Patience for Coral (2004).

Musical style[edit]

Fashek's musical influences include Bob Marley - whom he resembles vocally[15][16] - 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. [17] [18]

Other works[edit]

Fashek played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie Mark of the Beast,[19] [20] and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamalt.

Personal life[edit]

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek for whom the song "Without You" was written; the couple had four children together but have since divorced.[21] [22] In 2015, it was revealed that Fashek was bankrupt and battling drug addiction. After admitting that he needed help, was was admitted into a drug rehablitation centre in Abuja where he is currently recovering. [23]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1989 Prisoner of Conscience Mango Records[24]
1991 Spirit of Love Interscope Records
1997 Rainmaker Lightyear Entertainment
2005 Little Patience Coral Music Group

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone.[volume & issue needed] "Singer and guitarist Fashek is a star in his native Nigeria for reasons that are entirely apparent on this record."
  2. ^ Pareles, Jon. The New York Times, 5 December 1990. "In Nigeria, his concerts always fill stadiums."
  3. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Biography - Majek Fashek". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Faosheke, John Olu (11 February 2007). "Majek Fashek's Ijeshaedo Roots Revealed". AllAfrica.com (AllAfrica Global Media). Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  5. ^ Faosheke, John Olu (2 February 2007). "Majek Fashek’s Ijeshaedo roots revealed". Lagos, Nigeria: THISDAY. Archived from the original on 11.March 02.2007. Retrieved 1 October 2010.  Check date values in: |archivedate= (help)
  6. ^ DJ Ify. "Fela Kuti, Ringo Madlingozi and Majek Fashek". BBC. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 
  7. ^ Nigeria: Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Re-Ignites Hope for a Comeback
  8. ^ 40 Minutes with the Rainmaker
  9. ^ Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Re-ignites Hope For A Comeback
  10. ^ Majek Fashek Tragedy: The Inside Story No One Told You
  11. ^ I fell in love with Evi-Edna when she came for PMAN membership card –Ogosi
  12. ^ What happened to the mystic man?
  13. ^ Majek Fashek’s problem is spiritual –Imona
  14. ^ 12 things you must know about ‘prisoner of conscience’ Majek Fashek...
  15. ^ Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone. "Fashek's vocal and lyrical resemblance to the late Bob Marley is both eerie and earned...."
  16. ^ Farber, Jim. New York Daily News, 19 January 1992. "Ziggy may be Bob Marley's biological son, but Majek Fashek is his spiritual heir. In terms of vocal tone, Fashek is Marley's spitting image...."
  17. ^ Pareles, Jon. The New York Times, 5 December 1990. "...a promising hybrid style, one that started in standard reggae but has added the bustling cross-rhythms of Nigerian juju and a touch of hard rock."
  18. ^ Majek Fashek, a national tragedy
  19. ^ Strange Deaths Hit Nigerian Movie Industry Again
  20. ^ Nollywood - 2014 in Retrospect
  21. ^ I thought I would live with Majek Fashek forever – Ex wife, Rita
  22. ^ WHO’S AFTER MAJEK FASHEK?
  23. ^ I Am in Rehab and Receiving Treatment - Majek Fashek
  24. ^ "Discography - Majek Fashek". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 October 2010. 

External links[edit]