Majek Fashek

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Majek Fashek
Birth nameMajekodunmi Fashek
BornMarch 1963
Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria
Died1 June 2020 (aged 57)
New York City, U.S.
GenresReggae, roots reggae, rock
Occupation(s)singer, songwriter, actor
Years active1980s-2020
LabelsTabansi Records
Sony Nigeria
Interscope Records
Associated actsJastix
Monicazation

Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek (March 1963 – 1 June 2020) was a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist.[1][2] His 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience included the single "Send Down the Rain", which won won six PMAN Music Awards.[3] Also known as The Rainmaker, he worked with various artists worldwide including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé [4][5]

Early life[edit]

Fashek was born in Benin City to an Edo mother and an Ijesha father on 1963, but mainly identifies 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"[1][2] After his parents separated Fashek remained in Benin City in Edo State with his mother, and later joined the choir in his local Aladura church and learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing songs for the choir....[6]

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 musicians Amos McRoy Gregg and Black Rice. The trio soon gained popularity as the in-house band on the NTA Benin show Music Panorama, and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators. Jastix were also session musicians for up and coming reggae singer Edi Rasta, who would later be known as Evi-Edna Ogholi.[7]

1987–1990: Prisoner of Conscience and I&I Experience[edit]

In 1987, 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.[8] Fashek's next album was I&I Experience which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi Label, and included the anti-apartheid anthem Free Africa, Free Mandela which sampled Steam's Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.

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

After leaving Tabansi Records, Fashek was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s and released So Long Too Long. It was included on Putumayo World Music's first album. 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.[9] Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994. He was later dropped by Interscope before moving to Mango, a division of Island Records 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[10][11]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 heavily influenced by rock.[12][13]

Other works[edit]

Fashek had a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie Mark of the Beast,[14][15] and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamalt. In 2016 he performed to audience of over 10,000 people in a comedy show hosted by Ayo Makun in Eko Hotel Hall, Lagos.[16]

In December 2016 Fashek contributed the song "We Are Not Afraid" to a video directed by former 10CC member Kevin Godley featuring over 200 celebrities including 53 members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to raise funds for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).[17]

Personal life[edit]

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek who inspired the song "Without You"; the couple had four children together, but later divorced.[18][19] 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,[20] where he recovered and returned to music.

Death[edit]

Besides his struggle with drug addiction, other health conditions required Fashek's hospitalisation on several occasions. He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that Fashek had indeed been critically ill, hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London in the UK, and in dire need of financial assistance.[21][22] Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Femi Otedola pledged to cover all the singer's medical expenses.[23]

Fashek died in his sleep on 1 June 2020 in New York City. He was 57, and was battling esophageal cancer.[24]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Year Title Label Notes
1987 Prisoner of Conscience Tabansi Records[25]
1989 I & I Experience Tabansi Records
1989 Prisoner of Conscience (Re-release) Mango Records
1991 So Long Too Long Sony Nigeria
1991 Spirit of Love Interscope Records (As Majek Fashek & the Prisoners of Conscience)
1997 Rainmaker Lightyear Entertainment
1997 Best of Majek Fashek Flame Tree
2005 Little Patience Coral Music Group

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Biography – Majek Fashek". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ a b Faosheke, John Olu (11 February 2007). "Majek Fashek's Ijeshaedo Roots Revealed". AllAfrica.com. AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 1 October 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ "Nigeria: Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Re-Ignites Hope for a Comeback". allAfrica.com.
  4. ^ "40 Minutes with the Rainmaker". Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  5. ^ "Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Reignites Hope for a Comeback". Nigerian News from Leadership News.
  6. ^ "Majek Fashek Tragedy: The Inside Story No One Told You #SavingMajek". Entertainment Express.
  7. ^ daily Editor. "I fell in love with Evi-Edna when she came for PMAN membership card –Ogosi". Independent Newspapers Limited.
  8. ^ "Majek Fashek's problem is spiritual –Imona". 16 April 2014.
  9. ^ Adedayo Showemimo. "7 amazing facts about a fallen hero, Majek Fashek – Nigerian Entertainment Today – Nigeria's Number 1 Entertainment Daily". Nigerian Entertainment Today – Nigeria's Number 1 Entertainment Daily. Archived from the original on 6 August 2015. Retrieved 13 August 2015.
  10. ^ Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone. "Fashek's vocal and lyrical resemblance to the late Bob Marley is both eerie and earned...."
  11. ^ Farber, Jim. Daily News|location=New York, 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...."
  12. ^ 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."
  13. ^ "Joseph Edgar: Majek Fashek, a national tragedy". DailyPost Nigeria.
  14. ^ "Strange Deaths Hit Nigerian Movie Industry Again!". The Street Journal.
  15. ^ "Nigeria: Nollywood – 2014 in Retrospect". allAfrica.com.
  16. ^ "Majek Fashek performs shirtless at AY Live 2016 (Happy Ever Laughter Edition)". YouTube video.
  17. ^ "StackPath". wearenotafraid.net.
  18. ^ "I thought I would live with Majek Fashek forever – Ex wife, Rita". Archived from the original on 15 August 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  19. ^ "WHO'S AFTER MAJEK FASHEK?, Articles – THISDAY LIVE".
  20. ^ "Nigeria: I Am in Rehab and Receiving Treatment – Majek Fashek". allAfrica.com.
  21. ^ "Majek Fashek is alive – manager". The Sun Nigeria. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  22. ^ "Majek Fashek is critically ill". The Sun Nigeria. 16 September 2019. Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  23. ^ Augoye, Jayne (18 September 2019). "Femi Otedola foots Majek Fashek's hospital bills – Premium Times Nigeria". Retrieved 26 September 2019.
  24. ^ "Nigerian reggae legend Majek Fashek dies at 57". BBC News. 2 June 2020. Retrieved 2 June 2020. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ "Discography – Majek Fashek". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 October 2010. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External links[edit]