Ray Phiri

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Ray Phiri
Ray Phiri.jpg
Born Raymond Chikapa Phiri
(1947-03-23) March 23, 1947 (age 69)
Nelspruit, South Africa
Residence Johannesburg and Nelspruit South Africa
Occupation Recording artist, jazz fusion
Years active 1970–present
Spouse(s) Daphney Phiri (deceased)
Children 3 sons, 5 daughters
Musical career
Genres Jazz, jazz fusion, reggae, mbaqanga
Instruments Vocals, guitar
Labels Gallo, Barclay
Associated acts Stimela, "Just Now" Phiri, Paul Simon

Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri (born 23 March 1947) is a South African jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician[1] born in Mpumalanga to Malawian immigrant worker and South African guitarist nicknamed "Just Now" Phiri. He became founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. When the Cannibals disbanded Ray founded Stimela, with whom he conceived gold and platinum-selling albums like Fire, Passion and Ecstacy (1991), Look, Listen and Decide (1992) as well as the controversial People Don't Talk So Let's Talk.

Early years[edit]

Ray Phiri was born near Nelspruit in East Transvaal, now the modern-day Mpumalanga province, in South Africa. In 1985, Paul Simon asked Ray along with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join his Graceland project, which was successful and also helped the South African musicians to make names for themselves abroad. Ray was to collaborate with Paul Simon again on Simon's Rhythm of the Saints album, which saw him perform on stages such as Central Park and Madison Square Garden as well as appearing on top television shows in the United States. In 2012 Paul Simon organised a Graceland anniversary tour which Ray also participated in.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Phiri has been involved on a series of car accidents which had an impact in his personal life and musical career. Phiri was also badly injured in 1987 in a crash that claimed the lives of his band manager and six others.[3][4] In 2003, his wife was killed in a car accident, with Ray escaping serious injury.


Phiri has received many awards in recognition for his contribution in the music industry, one of these is the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver awarded to him by the South African president. This was to honor his sterling contribution to the South African music industry and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation.[5]


  • 1982: Fire, Passion And Ecstasy
  • 1983: Rewind
  • 1985: Shadows, Fear And Pain
  • 1986: Look, Listen And Decide
  • 1987: Unfinished Story
  • 1989: Trouble In The Land Of Plenty
  • 1996: Out Of The Ashes
  • 2000: Steam Tracks (Best of)
  • 2001: Live At The Market Theatre - 1st Half (Live)
  • 2002: The 2nd Half (Live)
  • 2010: A Lifetime...
  • 2011: Turn On The Sun


  1. ^ Mojapelo 2008, p. 136.
  2. ^ "Billionaire funds Ray Phiri's Aus visit". Channel24. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  3. ^ Samayende, Sizwe; Arenstein, Justin (23 November 2003). "Phiri's tragic life of car accidents". City Press (in Afrikaans). Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  4. ^ "Ray Phiri in accident, wife killed". The M&G Online. 19 November 2003. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 
  5. ^ "Raymond (Ray) Chikapa Phiri". South African History Online. Retrieved 2015-11-15. 

External links[edit]