By Osa Amadi, Arts Editor
Prophetically, the “Send Down the Rain” Prophet, who is incontrovertibly Nigeria’s Bob Marley, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is dead, and in the middle of the rainy season!
News of the demise of the reggae music maestro who had patterned his style along the style of legendary reggae superstar, Bob Marley, was officially broken by his manager, Omenka Uzoma early Tuesday, June 2, 2020, via an Instagram post which announced that Majek Fashek “has gone to be with the LORD his Maker.”
The 57-year-old reggae icon has in recent years had a long battle with ill-health, which had in November 2019, taken him to Queen Elizabeth Hospital, London.
Reliable sources say Majek died in a hospital in New York on Monday around 5:45pm.
Majek Fashek was a Nigerian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He came to the limelight in Nigeria, his home country through his 1988 album titled, “Prisoner of Conscience” which contained the multiple award-winning “Send Down the Rain”.
The Rainmaker, as he came to be popularly known after “Send Down the Rain”, worked with international artists like Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé.
He was born in Benin City on March 7, 1963, to an Edo mother which made him trace his roots to the Benin Kingdom in Nigeria. Majek Fashek cut his musical teeth when joined the Aladura church choir in Benin from where he learned to play the trumpet and guitar and composed songs for the choir.
By the early eighties Majek joined the musical group, Jastix, with McRoy Gregg, and Drummer Black ‘Rice, featuring as a band on the show, Music Panorama, on NTA Benin, and worked together with another popular reggae group, The Mandators.
In 1988, Majek started a solo career (after Jastix was disbanded) by signing with Tabansi Records on which label he released the ground-breaking album, Prisoner of Conscience” and became a super star with his “Send Down The Rain”, winning 6 Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) awards for “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, “Reggae Artist of the Year” and more. Then in 1989 he released “I&I Experience” which was yet another hit.
After he left Tabansi Records, and signed on to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s, he came out with “So Long Too Long”. On Flame Tree label, Majek released “The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994 which included a chart-busting cover of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song”.
As the final rain drenches the rainmaker of the Nigerian popular music industry and of the world reggae stage, the entire global pop music community and Nigerians across board will for a long time mourn the reggae icon and celebrate the larger-than-life size contributions of the Nigerian born-reggae music maestro who was grafted in the vocal and stylistic DNA of Robert Nester Marley, just as Lucky Dube was grafted in Peter Tosh.
Majek Fashek is survived by three children among whom is his son, Randy.