Majekodumni Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek is a Nigerian reggae singer and guitarist whose name was translated as “high priest who does not lie”. He was born in Benin City, Nigeria to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father.
Fashek first gained national fame on a television show in the early 80s as a member of Benin-based reggae group Jastix. His bandmates included Ras Kimono and Amos McRoy Gregg. They toured for many years with fellow reggae group, The Mandators and in 1988 shortly after Jastix disband he began a solo career and quickly became the best-known reggae artiste in Nigeria. His song ‘Send Down The Rain’ was a hit with which he won six US-based PMAN Music Awards. It was also the song that increased his hype as a reggae artiste in Nigeria.
After leaving Tabansi Records, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s before moving to Island Records’ Mango imprint, a label more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally. His first album for the company included a cover version of Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’. In 1990, he was signed to Interscope Records and released the critically acclaimed album Spirit Of Love, produced by “Little Steven” Van Zandt. Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994. He has recorded several albums for various labels since, including Rainmaker for Tuff Gong (1997) and Little Patience for Coral (2004).
Fashek is one of the increasing number of African artistes to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji, juju or highlife. Having grown up in a fervently religious and musical family, he was exposed to the imported sounds of Bob Marley at an early age, alongside the innovations of local stars such as Fela Kuti.
Fashek’s major influences are Bob Marley (whom he strongly resembles vocally), Fela Kuti and Jimi Hendrix.
Molukwu, an entertainment guru believes that, besides Majek’s drunkenness, there’s the other side of him, which many people are yet to discover.
“What people don’t know about Majek is that he is a very passionate man; he is a very wonderful man who takes his family’s affairs very seriously. He is married to one wife. His family comes first in everything he does,” Molokwu said.
Talk of kindness, “Majek is so kind that if he had $300 now and you tell him you need $299, he will give you the money and say, ‘this man needs the money, Jebose, (let him go), Jah will provide.’ That is why most of us tag along with him because we know the other side of him.”
For Molokwu, all hope is not lost in the effort to get Majek back to his real self.
“Majek is a very creative man who can sit down here, write a song and create the beat as well. That is why people such as Charles Novia and I keep trying to help him, because we know he is a wonderful person.
Majek Fashek, The Rainmaker is an icon both within and outside the country.
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