Writing and projecting thoughtful songs with his God given gift was what Majek Fashek grew to love.
Majekodunmi Fasheke was born on March, 1963 in Benin City to an Edo mother and an Ijesha father from Osun state.
For some reasons, his parents separated and this made Fashek remain in Benin City with his mother, as we know, “Na Mama dey get pikin.” While in Benin, he joined the choir in his local Aladura church and learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing melodious songs for the choir.
After some years, the singer decided to polish his musical skills and he came up with songs that healed the mind and soul. His songs talked about individual differences and rights in various beautiful ways.
Around the early eighties, Majek Fashek who at that time went by the stage name Rajesh Kanal joined the group Jastix with other musicians – McRoy Greg and Black Rice. This trio gained popularity as the in house band at NTA Benin show Music Panorama.
In the year 1988, Jastix group disbanded and this led him to change his name from Rajesh Kanal to Majek Fashek when he signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience. This album sold more than 200,000 copies in Nigeria alone, making him become Nigeria’s top Reggae Artist. This was further highlighted after the massive single “Send Down The Rain” became the most popular song of the year. The song actually won “Song of The Year“, making the singer have six PMAN Awards including winning “Album of The Year” and “Reggae Artist of The Year”.
Seeing that he was a Creative Singer, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s as he released another single “So Long, Too Long.’
He was present on the late night show with David Letterman in support of his new 1991 album.
Still on his growth, Flame free released “The Best of Majek Fashek” in 1994. His first album for the company included a cover version of Bob Marley “Redemption Song” which carried a strong political and Pan African message, further gaining him more fame across Africa. The song was a call for Nigerians to rise up!
His music was influenced by Bob Marley in whom he was said to resemble, vocally. Fashek was jokingly referred to as “Our Nigerian Bob Marley.” He also had the styles of Jim Hendrix and Fela Kuti. Fashek mixed local genres like Fuji, Juju into the music style he called ‘Kpangolo‘.
Aside singing, he had a flair for acting. This passion led to his supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie “Mark of The Beast“.
He was married to his long time Muse who inspired the song “Without You.” The couple had four children together, but later divorced due to reasons best known to them.
In between his career, he was an addict of hard drugs and this made him very ill on the long run. Also affecting his finances to a large extent. At a point, he was in need of financial assistance from heart willing Nigerians, and this made the Billionaire business mogul, Femi Otedola, sort out the medical bills of the ailing musician.
Whilst still on his battles with sickness, Majek Fashek gave up the ghost on Monday, 1st of June 2020 at a hospital located in New York City, America.
His death was confirmed by his manager Omenka Uzoma on the late singer Instagram handle.
Death is certainly a stealer of great people, and it is of great sadness to know that the Legend, Majek is no more.
May his soul rest in perfect peace, Amen.
Comment your favourite song of him below: