Nigerian raggae music icon, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is dead.
He died on Monday, June 1, aged 57, in the United States of America, after battling an unknown illness.
His death was confirmed by his manager, Omenka Uzoma Day, on the late singer’s official Instagram handle.
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In the aftermath of his death, Newsbreak presents 14 things readers need to know about him.
1. Fashek was born to an Ijesha father, from Osun State, and an Edo mother on February 6, 1949, but he identified with his Benin roots.
2. Various translations of his name, Fasheke, include “high priest who does not lie”, “powers of miracles” and “system or medium of divination does not lie”.
3. After his parents separated, Fashek remained in Benin City, the Edo State capital, with his mother. He joined the choir in his local Aladura church, where he learned how to play the trumpet and guitar. He also composed songs for the choir.
4. In the early 80s, Fashek went by the stage name ‘Rajesh Kanal’ and joined the group, Jastix, with McRoy Gregg, and drummer, Black Rice.
5. The group was best known as the in-house band on the show ‘Music Panorama’ on Nigerian Television Authority, Benin.
6. In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded Fashek, he signed with Tabansi Records 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.
7. In 1989, he won six Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN) awards for Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Reggae Artist of the Year, among others.
8. Fashek’s musical influences include Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
9. He was one of the original Nigerian musicians to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji or juju.
10. He played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie, ‘Mark of the Beast’, and starred in a commercial for non-alcoholic beverage, Diamalt.
11. Fashek, also known as ‘The Rainmaker’, was married to Rita Fashek, who inspired the song “Without You”; the couple had four children together but have since divorced.
12. 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, the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
13. He was rumored to have died in September 2019, but his manager quelled the rumors, confirming that Fashek had been critically ill and hospitalized at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Woolwich, England.
14. He worked with various artists worldwide, including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg and Beyonce.