Reggae star Majek Fashek joyfully sang “Majek Fashek in the New York” and the gifted musician died in a hospital in the American city on Monday around 5:45 pm. after a health crisis that lasted nine months— September 2019 till June 2020.
A singer and multi-instrumentalist, Fashek introduced the world to a softer-edged style of reggae which he touted as ‘kpangolo music’ in 1988 on his debut album ‘Prisoner of Conscience’. His influences included Jimi Hendrix to Bob Marley and Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Majek was married to Rita Fashek, who shares the first name with Marley’s wife, Rita Marley. Majek repudiated the popular notion that he was into drugs.
“I have never used drugs, cocaine, or what have you. These are mere concoctions of junk or drunken press in the United States of America. I have never used drugs in the U.S. or Nigeria,” he said in an interview with TV personality and host of Rubbin Minds, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu.
However, he claimed to have spiritual attacks and problems. “I have been having spiritual attacks and that is an African thing. It’s spiritual,” he said.
In 2008, Majek’s path crossed with that of filmmaker and record label owner, Charles Novia. The erudite filmmaker was quick to sign a deal to release and promote Majek’s last album ‘Little Patience’ after proper documentation from Coral Music, USA.
Novia added: “I spoke to Majek last three years ago. I think I saw him last in Abuja in 2017 on a flight and we had a little banter and shared some jokes. I think we spoke later on in the same year.”
At the high point of his career, Majek maintained a coherent sense of lyric line and continuously drew out key phrases in an elaborate manner – sometimes repeating the same phrase multiple times until he climaxed into a sing-along.
Majek polished his singing while with Jastix, a band he toured alongside fellow reggae group, The Mandators.
“I would remember him for the good time we had. I managed him for five years and it’s a privilege. I tried to get him back on track and push him out there because for me I was managing the biggest act in Africa then even though he was quite a handful you know with everything going on in his life at the time but I feel honoured and privileged to have worked with him,” Novia said.
Novia stressed that Majek was a very talented soul, who was also highly spiritual.
“He was a very talented and soft soul. He was beautiful in and out. Majek was a beautiful soul. He had a soft side of him, he didn’t like to see people suffer so he would always want to help. On the streets, when he saw children begging for alms or hawking wares, he would feel pained and if he had any money, he would dash it out all. He was a free spirit and very spiritual. He could pray all day, he was very deep spiritually and sort of understood how to commune with God in such a way that some of us don’t know. I think he was a prophet.