Majek Fashek

Majek Folabee Shamsudeen
Birth name Majekodunmi Fasheke
Born February, 1949

Benin Edo State, Nigeria
Genres Reggae, roots reggae, rock
Occupation(s) singer, songwriter, Actor, Activist
Years active early 90s—present
Labels Interscope Records
Associated acts Jastix


Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek (pronounced as Ma-je-ko-dun-mi Ifa-kii-she-eke), is a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist.[1][2] He is best known in his home country for the 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience, which included the multiple award-winning single "Send Down the Rain".[3] Also known as The Rainmaker, he has 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 a Yoruba father, but 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 with his mother, and soon 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 McRoy Gregg, and lead singer Black Rice. They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin, and 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.[7]

1988-1990: Prisoner of Conscience and I&I Experience [ edit ]

In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, who now used the name Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Recors 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 which included "Song of the Year", "Album of the Year", and "Reggae Artist of the Year".[8] Fashek's next album was I&I Experience which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi Label.

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

After leaving Tabansi Records, he 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, as it was more 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 also heavily influenced by rock.[12][13]

Other works [ edit ]

Fashek played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie Mark of the Beast,[14][15] and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage Diamalt. He recently (2016) performed in a comedy show (with more than ten thousand audience in attendance) in Lagos, Nigeria, with a roundly power-filled and soul-lifting performance.[16]

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).[17]

Personal life [ edit ]

Fashek was married to Rita Fashek who inspired the song "Without You"; the couple had four children together, but have since 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] but has since recovered, and returned to music.

Aside from the fight with drug addiction, the legendary musician has had health challenges that has gotten him hospitalized on several occasions. He was rumored dead in September 2019 but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that although Majek is alive, he's been critically ill, hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England, and in dire need of financial assistance.[21][22] Billionaire businessman and philatropist, Femi Otedola has, however, pledged to foot all the medical expenses of the legendary singer.[23]

Discography [ edit ]

Studio albums [ edit ]

Year Title Label Notes
1989 Prisoner of Conscience Mango Records [24]
1991 Spirit of Love Interscope Records
1997 Rainmaker Lightyear Entertainment
2005 Little Patience Coral Music Group

Notes [ edit ]

  1. ^ a b Harris, Craig. "Biography - Majek Fashek". Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  2. ^ a b Faosheke, John Olu (11 February 2007). "Majek Fashek's Ijeshaedo Roots Revealed". AllAfrica Global Media. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
  3. ^ "Nigeria: Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Re-Ignites Hope for a Comeback".
  4. ^ 40 Minutes with the RainmakerArchived 2015-10-01 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Rainmaker, Majek Fashek Re-ignites Hope For A Comeback - Nigerian News from Leadership News". 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. CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ "Majek Fashek's problem is spiritual –Imona". 2014-04-16.
  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.
  10. ^ Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone. "Fashek's vocal and lyrical resemblance to the late Bob Marley is both eerie and earned...."
  11. ^ Farber, Jim. New York Daily News, 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".
  16. ^ "Majek Fashek performs shirtless at AY Live 2016 (Happy Ever Laughter Edition)". YouTube video.
  17. ^
  18. ^ I thought I would live with Majek Fashek forever – Ex wife, RitaArchived 2015-08-15 at the Wayback Machine
  20. ^ "Nigeria: I Am in Rehab and Receiving Treatment - Majek Fashek".
  21. ^ "Majek Fashek is alive – manager". The Sun Nigeria. 2019-09-16. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  22. ^ "Majek Fashek is critically ill". The Sun Nigeria. 2019-09-16. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  23. ^ Augoye, Jayne (2019-09-18). "Femi Otedola foots Majek Fashek's hospital bills - Premium Times Nigeria". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  24. ^ "Discography - Majek Fashek". Retrieved 1 October 2010.

External links [ edit ]

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