Legendary Nigerian reggae singer-songwriter Majek Fashek has died. The news was announced on his Instagram official handle by his manager Omenka Uzoma.
His statement reads:
Today been having pressure calls,well it is true that the African No 1 Legendary ICON has gone to be with the LORD his Maker,
Let celebrate him ,his achievements and his family,what ever decisions made by his immediate family will be notify.
From his Manager:OMENKA Uzoma Day.
The cause of death is yet to be disclosed as at the time of this report.
Majekodunmi Fasheke, pronounced Ma-je-ko-dun-mi Ifa-kii-she-eke and known on stage as Majek Fashek was a Nigerian musician and guitarist best known for the 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience, which housed his multi award-winning record “Send Down the Rain”.
Majek in the early eighties went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, and was part of a group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, and Drummer Black ‘Rice. The group was known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin, and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators.
1988–1990: Prisoner of Conscience and I&I Experience
Fashek started to use the name Majek Fashek in 1988 after Jastix disbanded. He signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song “Send Down The Rain” became the most popular song of the year, making him win six PMAN awards for “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Reggae Artist of the Year” among others in 1989. Majek’s next album was I&I Experience, released in the same year under the Tabansi imprint.
After his exit from Tabansi Records, Fashek signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s and released So Long Too Long. The record was included on Putumayo World Music’s first album.
Majek Fashek in 1990 signed to Inter scope Records and released his 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.
The 71 year old was later dropped by Interscope before moving to Mango, a division of Island Records, as it was more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally, while Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994.
Majek has recorded several albums for various labels including Rainmaker for Tuff Gong (1997) and Little Patience for Coral (2004). His first album for Flame Tree included a cover version of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.
Also referred to as The Rainmaker, Fashek has worked with artists worldwide, including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé, with musical influences from Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix, and Fela Kuti.
Majek Fashek played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie Mark of the Beast, and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamalt. In 2016, he performed in a comedy show to more than ten thousand audience in Lagos, Nigeria, with a power-filled and soul-lifting performance.
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).
Fashek was married to Rita Fashek with four children but have since divorced. Fashek was revealed to be bankrupt and battling drug addiction in 2015. After admitting he needed help, he was admitted into a drug rehabilitation center in Abuja, where he recovered, and returned to music.
The singer struggled with drug addiction and other health conditions which required his hospitalization on several occasions. He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that Majek had been ill, hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England, and in dire need of financial assistance.
Billionaire businessman Femi Otedola pledged to cover all the singer’s medical expenses. He died in the early hours of June 2nd, 2020 at 71. His death was confirmed by his manager Omenka Uzoma, on Majek’s official Instagram handle.