| MAJEK FASHEK
- Little Patience
African reggae star Majek Fashek has been called a prophet and a poet, and has become one of Africa's greatest singers and musicians with his powerful world beat sound.
His new album Little Patience on the Coral Music label is in many ways Fashek’s masterwork - the culmination of his life’s extraordinary journey. With powerful and provocative songs like the soulful “Power of a Woman,” or the inspiring “Someday One Day,” it is a remarkable collection that incorporates Majek’s core influences of Bob Marley, Fela Anikulapo Kuti and Jimi Hendrix. He seamlessly meshes roots, rock, reggae and Afrobeat into a unique signature sound called kpangolo. Majek describes it as “the sound of many cultures coming together.”
Majek Fashek has always sung from the soul about the political and social struggles he has faced in his long and winding road from Nigeria to the U.S. He first attracted international attention in 1987 when his song, "Send Down The Rain" seemed to coax a rain storm that ended one of the worst droughts in Nigeria' s history. Performing at an outdoor theater, he saw the thirsty crowd yearning for just a few drops of water. No one could imagine the possibility of a downpour, but as Majek sang the lyric "the sky looks misty and cloudy; it looks like the rain's gonna fall today," clouds gathered in the sky, thunder cracked and rain soaked the barren ground.
Since that momentous occasion, Fashek has become one of Africa's most revered contemporary musical performers, rivaling compatriots Alpha Blondy and Lucky Dube in recognition and popularity around the world.
Majek was born “Majekodunmi Fasheke” in Benin City, once the center of the ancient Sini kingdom. He 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.
Whether playing maracas and congas as a child at these religious events or singing and playing guitar as a reggae superstar, Majek has always been "on a mission" to deliver God's message through his music.
While he developed an early interest in Jamaican riddims, Fashek was equally drawn to the music of Indian cinema. Learning to play guitar while in secondary school, Fashek joined a band called Jah Stix and, after graduating from the New Era College's Arts Program, he began playing in Lagos nightclubs, universities and even prisons. Majek also worked as an A&R man, helping local musicians like the Mandators and Ras Kimono.
In 1987, he embarked on his solo career and soon became Nigeria's biggest reggae star. After winning six awards at the annual PMAN ceremony, he was signed to CBS Nigeria, but soon transferred to Island Records’ subsidiary Mango, a label more accustomed to marketing reggae internationally.
His debut solo album Prisoner Of Conscience, released in 1988, sold more than 200,000 copies in Nigeria alone. It was followed by "Spirit of Love" a year later, produced by the inestimable Little Steven. The Best of Majek Fashek was released in the UK in 1994, incorporating much of Majek’s classic African material, and in 1997 Rainmaker was released on Tuff Gong International.
Fashek had a close relationship with the legendary late Nigerian musician and bandleader Fela Kuti, and he includes a Fela composition “Water No Get Enemy” on the new album. “He’s like my big brother,” Majek has said and like Fela, he not only delivers hard-hitting rhythms, but also a forceful criticism of social and political issues. On Little Patience, Majek's acid tongue and sharp wit offer insightful and powerful lyrics over fresh Afro-reggae grooves. He combines so many types of music because as he says, "when the styles blend together, music can free the world."
“When there is too much hustle in life,” Majek observes, “you’ve got to be patient and wait for your time. You’ve got to pray and you’ve got to keep working. Don’t be lazy, but watch where you’re going – that’s a little patience.”
Majek will have your soul, spirit and body dancing if you have a Little Patience.