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All Music Guide:
African reggae star Majek Fashek (born: Majekodunmi Fasheke) attracted international attention, in 1987, when his self-penned tune, "Send Down The Rain," seemed to coax a rain storm that ended one of the worst draughts in Nigeria' s history. Labled a "prophet", Fashek went on to become one of Africa's greatest reggae-influenced performers. His debut solo album, Prisoner Of Conscience, released in 1988, sold more than 200,000 copies in Nigeria alone.
Born in Benin City, once the center of the ancient Sini kingdom, Fashek inherited his love of music from his mother, an Edo woman who raised him following the death of his father when he was eleven years old. A businesswoman, who supplied concrete to road contractors, she inspired him through her participation in traditional religious ceremonies where the Olokun rhythms were used to accompany worship of the river goddess. As a youngster, Fashek played maracas during the ceremonies.
While he developed an early interest in the music of Jamaica, Fashek was equally drawn to the music of Indian cinema. Learning to play guitar while in secondary school, Fashek joined a band, Jah Stix, and began playing in clubs in the capitol city of Lagos.
Fashek, whose name means "power of miracles, the high priest does not live", had a very close involvement with the late Nigerian drummer and bandleader Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek, is a Nigerian reggae singer and guitarist. Various translations of his name Fasheke (Ifa-kii-she-eke) include "high priest who does not lie", "powers of miracles" and "(system or medium of) divination does not lie".Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone. "Singer and guitarist Fashek is a star in his native Nigeria for reasons that are entirely apparent on this record." Pareles, Jon. The New York Times, 5 December 1990. "In Nigeria, his concerts always fill stadiums." Harris, Craig. "Biography - Majek Fashek". allmusic.com. Retrieved 1 October 2010. Faosheke, John Olu (11 February 2007). "Majek Fashek's Ijeshaedo Roots Revealed". AllAfrica.com (AllAfrica Global Media). Retrieved 1 October 2010. Faosheke, John Olu (2 February 2007). "Majek Fashek’s Ijeshaedo roots revealed". Lagos, Nigeria: THISDAY. Archived from the original on 11.March 02.2007. Retrieved 1 October 2010. Check date values in: |archivedate= (help) DJ Ify. "Fela Kuti, Ringo Madlingozi and Majek Fashek". BBC. Retrieved 1 October 2010.
Fashek was born in Benin City, Nigeria to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father.Cite error: The named reference allmusic was invoked but never defined (see the help page). Cite error: The named reference allafrica was invoked but never defined (see the help page).
Fashek first gained national fame on a television show in the early 1980s 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. In 1988, shortly after Jastix disbanded, he began a solo career and quickly became the best-known reggae artist in Nigeria. His song "Send Down The Rain" was a hit, and he won six US-based PMAN Music Awards.
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 artists to be drawn to the music of the Caribbean, specifically reggae, rather than indigenous hybrids such as fuji, jùjú, 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), and Fela Kuti.Ham, Anthony (2009). West Africa. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 64. Pareles, Jon. The New York Times, 5 December 1990. "...a promising hybrid style, one that started in standard reggae but has added the bustling cross-rhythms of Nigerian juju and a touch of hard rock." Loder, Kurt. Rolling Stone. "Fashek's vocal and lyrical resemblance to the late Bob Marley is both eerie and earned...." Farber, Jim. New York Daily News, 19 January 1992. "Ziggy may be Bob Marley's biological son, but Majek Fashek is his spiritual heir. In terms of vocal tone, Fashek is Marley's spitting image...."