A picture of late Nigerian reggae legend, Majek Fashek, performing.

RIP Majek Fashek: Eleven Facts About The Music Legend

Majek Fashek, one of Nigeria’s greatest music icons passed away in his sleep yesterday in New York at the age of 57. His demise was confirmed via his official Instagram account, by Omenka Uzoma, his manger.

Since the announcement of his death, fans from around the world have paid tribute to the late icon, sharing memories and heartfelt messages to celebrate him.

We’ll be honouring his legacy by sharing ten interesting facts about him:

1. He learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing songs for the choir in his local Aladura Church in Benin, where he lived with his mother after his parents separated.

2. He performed on ‘The Late Night with David Letterman’- an international talk show

On the 16th of June, 1992, Majek Fashek made his late-night television debut on the prime time show ‘The Late Night with David Letterman’ on NBC, becoming the first Nigerian musician to appear on an American late-night TV show.

He gave an incredible performance ‘So Long, Too Long’ with David Letterman’s band and some members of his band.

3. His hit song ‘Send Down The Rain’ has been mythologised

Legend has it that following the release of his hit single ‘Send Down The Rain’, Nigeria experienced a huge amount of rainfall, especially in Northern Nigeria, which had been experiencing a drought. The song is recognised as his signature single.

4. Majek Fashek’s surname ‘Fasheke’ (Ifa-Kii-she-eke) has various transitions, including “high priest who does not lie”, “powers of miracles” and “(system or medium of) divination does not lie”.

5. He kicked off his professional music career in the early eighties as a member of a band called Ja’stix. His bandmates were Ras Kimono, Amos McRoy Gregg, Sammy Sammama, George Orwells and Black Rice Osagie. He was known as ‘Rajesh Kanal’.

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6. In 1992, the New York Daily News referred to him as the spiritual heir to Bob Marley, who was one of his musical influences.

7. He played a supporting role in the 2000 Nollywood movie ‘The Mark of the Beast’, which also starred Enebili Elebuwa, Ngozi Ezeonu, Genevieve Nnaji and Segun Arinze, amongst others.

8. He won six PMAN Awards back in 1989, including Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Reggae Artist of the Year

9. He was once signed to Columbia Records Nigeria; Island Records’ imprint Mango Records and Interscope Records.

10. In December 2016, he contributed a song titled “We Are Not Afraid” to a video featuring 200 celebrities to raise funds for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). The campaign was organised in response to the global refugee crisis and the victims of religious and political violence.

11. He released a song titled ‘Free Africa, Free Mandela’, to express his thoughts about Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment during the Apartheid era in South Africa.

May his soul rest in perfect peace and may his legacy live on.

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