Majek Fashek Declared Me Reggae Queen — Evi Edna Ogholi
The sad passing of reggae super star and Rainmaker maestro, Majek Fashek, continues to evoke strong memories among those, who knew him at close range. One of them is Paris, France-based reggae crooner famous for such memorable songs like Obaro (‘Forward ever’) and Oniowoma (Mother is Good), Evi Edna Ogholi.
From her base in Paris, Evi told The Guardian how close her family, alongside her music producer and arranger ex-husband, Emma Ogosi, was to the rainmaker and how instrumental he was to the success of her music.
“It was Emma Ogosi, my former arranger and producer, who also doubled as my ex-husband and father of my two adorable and very lovely children Adora Onome Joy Ogosi, my daughter and Dumebi Odezi Victor Ogosi, my son that went to Japex Studio, Lagos, to discuss with Majek Fashek (bass guitar),” she recalled.
“Amos McRoy (guitar), Georgia Oza (I called him Georgeeh – keyboards). Also, there was Mambo Stix (Christophe Djani Wodjou – played drums in many of my albums), Black O. Rice (percussions) in Obaro (Forward Ever) song from my second album. Note that I have released seven albums so far. The Jastix Band played in many of my albums live in Decca Recording Studio, Yaba, Lagos. Black Rice played percussions in Obaro – Ko titi ko, ko tititi ko, ko ti. Natural; real African beat and touch. Fantastic.
“Majek Fashek got very good sense of humour. He was a very talented singer, songwriter and performer. Just after he played bass guitar live at Decca Recording Studio in my song, Obaro, Majek walked up to me. He removed the reggae band with Rastafarian colours – red, yellow and green – from his hand and gave it to me and said, ‘Evi, take it. You are the Queen of Reggae!”
For a young musician cutting her teeth in the world of reggae, this was a huge endorsement for Evi, who has retained the fond memory for decades.
“I was flattered,” she confesses many years later. “The reggae band given to me by Majek Fashek is the Reggae band that I am wearing in my Facebook and WhatsApp profile pictures. Anytime I am wearing the reggae band, I always remember Majek Fashek. Anytime Majek Fashek came to visit, Emma Ogosi and I in our Wemabod Estate Duplex, Off Adeniyi Jones Avenue, Ikeja, Lagos, it was laughter all the way. I was always excited anytime Majek was visiting us; we received him with great pleasure.
“Just like all members of the Jastix Band, he had got very good sense of humour. He was very, very handsome with a beautiful smile (Très Joli Sourire in French). Recording many of my albums live with the Jastix Band in the Studio was a very memorable, wonderful, and unforgettable experience. For me as a singer, songwriter, and performer, there was no rival with Jastix Band.
“May the gentle soul of Majek Fashek rest in peace in the mighty name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, Alleluya Hallelujah, Amen!”
Evi Edna Ogholi also seized the opportunity of paying respect to the reggae maestro to also remember some of those, who shaped her music career back in the days.
“I want to use this opportunity to say hello to Amos McRoy (now a pastor), Georgia Oza (now in Holland), Black Rice (also in Holland), and Mambo Stix (Christophe Djani Wodjou, now also in Paris, France just like me). I want to also say hello to Romeo Otega. He used to open shows for me in Nigeria and in some African countries. He toasted live in ‘Oniowoma’ (‘Mother is Good’). Romeo Otega also chorused in many of my songs. I want to say hello also to Omonhinmin C. Omen. She sang chorus in my first album. Hello also to Jolass Court (now in America); she sang chorus in many of my songs. I want to also say hello to my friends in Brazil – Jorge Jones (a DJ and vinyl seller in Brazil). He plays my music often live in Brazil. Hello also to Anderson Carlos Maciel in Brazil, Cae Traven, a DJ in Brazil, and Zequinha Donaldson, a Brazilian reggae star).”
Evi also explained and apologised to her fans for her failure to be out with her planned music. She, however, said her new music would out as soon as the worldwide lockdown due to coronavirus is lifted and border crossing is made easy.
“I want to also use this medium and opportunity to apologise to my teeming fans for the long delay in releasing my new album, Peace and Love,” she said. “In brief, I cancelled the recording of Peace and Love for some reasons. I will record Peace and Love afresh in Eno Kingsley Osagie’s studio in Italy as soon as European, Shengen borders reopen. After Coronavirus lockdown that is lifted in France and some European countries, I will shoot my music video also in Italy. Premier Music, Lagos, Nigeria, my official record company in Nigeria, will market and distribute that album in Nigeria.”
She said the album contains eight songs that include Peace and Love (reggae), Urehe (‘It’s not over until it is over’ (reggae/jazz), Nobody can please the world (reggae), Africa (world music), My Love in a jazzy place (jazz), Paris est belle (Paris is beautiful – world music), Let us be happy (world music), and Peace and Love (dub version – reggae).