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All You Need To Know About Late Musician Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek

Veteran Nigerian music star Majek Fashek passed on yesterday June 1 and his death was confirmed in the early hours of this morning.

He was considered one of the original Nigerian artists to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae.

He also mixed indigenous generes like fujijùjú into his style which he calls kpangolo.

Having grown up in a fervently religious and musical family, he was exposed to the imported sounds of Bob Marley at an early age, alongside the innovations of local stars such as Fela Kuti.

In the early days of his career in the 1980s as a member of Benin-based reggae group Jastix, he went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal.

He joined Jastix with musicians Amos McRoy Gregg, Black Rice Osagie and later Ras Kimono. The group gained popularity as the in-house band on the NTA Benin show Music Panorama.

They also 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.

The Jastix disbanded in 1988 and Majek began his career as a solo artist with the performing name Majek Fashek.

He signed with Tabansi Records under which he released his debut album “Prisoner of Conscience.” The album established him as Nigeria’s top reggae artist.

Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek performing in his younger years | Image sourced from TooXclusive

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 “I&I Experience” was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi Label.

He left Tabnsi Records and went on to sign with CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s before moving to Island Records’ Mango imprint, a label more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally.

Under Sony Nigeria, he released the album  So Long Too Long in 1991. It was included on Putumayo World Music‘s first album.

His critically acclaimed  “Little Steven” Van Zandt produced album “Spirit Of Love” was released under Interscope Records in the same 1991.

In 1992, he appeared on Late Night with David Letterman where he performed the song “So Long Too Long” for the television audience to promote his new 1991 album. 

In 1994, Flame Tree released “The Best of Majek Fashek.”

Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek | BBC

Asides music, Fashek also dabbled into other ventures.

He played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood film “Mark of the Beast” and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamalt.

In 2016 he performed to an audience of over 10000 people at a comedy show in Lagos to critical acclaim.=

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek and she served as his muse for the song “Without You.”

The union produced four children before they divorced.

Fashek’s drug addiction came into public focus in 2015 when it was revealed that the star was bankrupt.

He sought help by checking into a drug rehabilitation centre in Abuja and upon recovery, he made a music return.

In December 2016 Fashek contributed the song “We Are Not Afraid” to a video featuring 200 celebrities to raise funds for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Majek Fashek

Majek Fashek | Shakara Square

Rumours of the musician’s death surfaced in September 2019 but his manager debunked it saying Fashek was indeed critically ill.

He also admitted that the ailing star was in need of financial support.

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist Femi Otedola pledged to cover all the singer’s medical expenses.

Fashek died yesterday June 1 at the age of 57 from an undisclosed illness in the United States.

His death was confirmed by his manager, Omenka Uzoma, on the late singer’s official Instagram handle.

 

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