IT has been raining heavily of late, reminding music lovers of the sad exit of The Rainmaker. He answered the call of his Maker on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 at the age of 57. Born Majekodunmi Fasheke, he was rechristened on the musical stage as Majek Fashek and widely celebrated as The Rainmaker.
It was not with esoteric incantations that he invoked rainfall. It was a voice that captivated, and coupled with stagecraft dribven by the spiritual ambience of his songs that made him a Nigerian reggae star unlike any other.
While his musical reign lasted, his performances never failed to elicit emotional reactions from his cult-like followers who soon began to regard him as a mystic.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, it was typical of the Rainmaker to mount the stage in red robes, military boots and with his hands shackled. There was also a big bell which he rang as he ascended the stage, shouting: “Repent, for the kingdom of Jah is at hand…”
Majek Fashek’s musical career started in the 1980s. After a period of trying to find his bearing playing with the likes of Ras Kimono, Amos McRoy, the Mandators and Jastix, he went solo. His breakthrough came with the release of the multiple-award winning album, “Prisoner of Conscience”.
The track: “Send down the Rain” was uncannily prophetic, with some claiming that it always rained any time he performed it. The song was the magic key that opened the door to his musical stardom. It won for him six music awards. It was not long before he became one of the most celebrated reggae stars in Nigeria and was soon launched on the world stage.
To buttress this, he was reputed to have worked at different times with highly celebrated artistes such as Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, Beyonce and Danny Erskine. But just when he was nearing heights attained by such global reggae legends as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff and others, he suddenly began to lose his bearing which he blamed on “spiritual attacks”, not drugs as widely insinuated. Several philanthropic interventions to help get him back on his feet failed.
One of such interventions to rehabilitate him saw him perform during the Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards in 2016. Although his talent was still very much in evidence he had become a mere shadow of himself.
Majek Fashek was in September 2019 rumoured to have died but his manager dispelled the rumours, though admitting that he was indeed critically ill at the time.
Though Majek Fashek, the undisputed front-liner among Nigeria’s reggae artistes is gone, he will continue to live in the hearts of many through his music.
May his soul rest in peace.