He was named The Rainmaker because the single, ‘Send Down the Rain’ in his album ‘Prisoner of Conscience’ did send down the rain whenever he rendered it at shows. He was a beauty to behold. His smooth fine skin was the talk of the industry. But in a twist, he went down.
Majek Fashek, real name, Majekodunmi Fasheke, is a Nigerian reggae singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was best known for his 1988 album Prisoner of Conscience which included the single “Send Down the Rain”. This single won him several awards. Fashek born in Benin City to an Edo mother and a Yoruba father, also worked with various artists worldwide including Tracy Chapman, Jimmy Cliff, Michael Jackson, Snoop Dogg, and Beyoncé.
After his parents separated Fashek remained in Benin City with his mother, and soon joined the choir in his localAladura church and learned to play the trumpet and guitar whilst composing songs for the choir. So like many other Nigerian musicians, he had his roots in the church.
According to records, in the early eighties Fashek, known then by the stage name Rajesh Kanal, joined the group Jastix with McRoy Gregg, and lead singer Black Rice. They were best known as the in-house band on the show Music Panorama on NTA Benin, and toured with fellow reggae group The Mandators.
In 1988, Majek Fashek, signed with Tabansi Records and began a solo career by releasing the album Prisoner of Conscience and became Nigeria’s top reggae artist after the song “Send Down The Rain” became the most popular song of the year. In 1989 he won six PMAN awards which included “Song of the Year”, “Album of the Year”, and “Reggae Artist of the Year”.] Fashek’s next album was I&I Experience which was released in late 1989 under the Tabansi label.
He had a chain of other releases after leaving Tabansi Records. First, he was signed to CBS Nigeria in the early 1990s and released So Long Too Long ; in 1990 he was signed to Interscope Records and released the critically acclaimed album Spirit Of Love, produced by “Little Steven” Van Zandt; in 1992, he appeared on Late Night with David Lettermanin support of his new 1991 album, and performed the song “So Long Too Long” for the television audience; Flame Tree released The Best of Majek Fashek in 1994, etc.
According to Craig Harris , a biographer, Majek 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. He wrote that as a youngster, Fashek played maracas during the ceremonies; that while he developed an early interest in the music of Jamaica, Fashek was equally drawn to the music of Indian cinema. He also noted that Fashek, whose name means “power of miracles, the high priest does not lie”, had a very close involvement with the late Nigerian drummer and bandleader Fela Anikulapo Kuti.
Highly celebrated Majek Fashek later went into oblivion. He travelled out to the United States. He was reported to be a victim of hard drugs.
Meanwhile, Majek Fashek is striving to make a comeback. He proved so very clearly in a recent interview with Vanguard newspaper. In the engaging interview with Vanguard Entertainment team, The Rainmaker recounted the touching story of his dark days, insisting that he was never on drugs then as widely speculated; rather he was serving a spiritual punishment which “has now come to an end”. He spoke about his new album that is due to drop soon, as well as why he accused Timi Dakolo of stealing his song.
Said Fashek: “I’m back home to help the Nigerian recession, and also to openly appreciate someone, Captain Hosa Okunbo who has been so nice to me. Everything he did for me was in secret, and he has done so much. So, I decided to come back home and appreciate him and also ask Nigerians to join us in thanking him for standing by me throughout my difficult moments. Secondly, I have a new album I want to use to help reduce the current economic recession in the country. Nigeria is the richest country in Africa judging by the resources we have, so why should we be in recession? It’s not a good business, the Nigerian government has to wake up from their programme of stealing and provide for the poor masses, else in the future, we’ll be breeding armed robbers, kidnappers and all sorts of social miscreants in the country.
“Also, I’m in the country to promote my campaign tagged “Operation Feed The Poor People”, which is going to be sponsored by American Amnesty International in partnership with the Nigerian government. But we are still discussing with the Nigerian government. It is a programme that would really help the Nigerian people. I intend to bring big artistes from the United Kingdom to embark on a tour of the country.”
He recalled his featuring in ‘Good Morning America’ in the U.S. Hear him: “Do you know what it means to be on a programme called ‘Good Morning America’? Till today, I’m still paid royalty in America, but some people keep stealing my fortunes here, putting people’s music on ITunes and making money”
Majek is home to revive his brand –‘Pangolo’. According to him, “So I’m home to capture that sound because I can’t get it abroad; I need to capture that “Pangolo” sound that the young artistes are doing now. I came back to be in charge because these young boys are making money, they have more money than the older musicians. The likes of Olamide, Wizkid among others are all doing well.”
He explained: “Pangolo is a mixture of jazz, rock, hip-hop, Afro-beat; it has all kinds of sounds mixed together in it. Pangolo is the sound of many cultures, if you hear my sound you will hear the talking drum and that’s from the Yoruba culture, Shekere which is from the Igbo highlife, Rock n roll which is American; so it’s a sound of many cultures put into one sound. That’s what all these boys are doing now, not their own style. If I decide to produce in London, I won’t capture the sound I want because they only listen to rock sound, but in Nigeria we are more open to other sounds.”
So Majek Fashek wants to pull himself out of the mud.