My Magic Music Man Majek Fashek

by Uzor Maxim Uzoatu
majek fashek

It takes a playfully mischievous magician to conjure heavy rain to beat on his audience once he takes the stage.

Mischief sits well in the Majek Fashek magic.

Majek was in his heydays rehearsing at daytime in Silver Shadow Night Club, Ola Ayinde Street, Ikeja, Lagos where my legendary DJ friend Stagger Lee reigned supreme at night.

I was in the neighbourhood with my love interest at the time, a brilliant undergraduate whose name must be withheld here due to security concerns!

Majek was the rave for all the young ones, and my companion was in shock when I took her into the lair of the rehearsing superstar.

I exchanged pleasantries with Majek, and the young lady was in wonder at how familiar I was with most of the celebrated stars of the age she could only see on television.

I settled down on a table with my buddy to preside over a bottle or two while watching Majek rehearse with his band.

A mutual friend of Majek and me walked in to tell me that some of my friends who had seen me walk into Silver Shadow were asking for me to come see them at a nearby watering hole outside.

I excused myself from the girl who was already enjoying the Majek show, and I walked off to share some minutes with my friends.

Once I was out of sight, Majek left the stage to chat up the babe I had brought in to watch his rehearsals!

“I came with your friend and I am leaving with your friend.” Those were the words my brainy girl told me she said to Majek.

Well, when I got back into Silver Shadow, Majek was still struggling hard to get fine with a hard-to-crack object of his attraction.

I calmly walked up to them, and Majek who had told the girl he did not know me, not minding that he had greeted us warmly when we entered, now tried to make amends by saluting me thusly: “Aaah, Journalist…”

As I didn’t Majek Fashek’s rain to beat me badly, I coolly walked away with my hotly coveted jewel.

Knowing Majek, I could only laugh as there were no hard feelings as he was only trying to be hip in making a kill.

Even so, Majek did not find it funny when my brother, Isidore Emeka Uzoatu, published a review of Majek Fashek’s debut album “Prisoner of Conscience” which he entitled “Prisoner of Influences.”

My brother’s contention was that Majek borrowed heavily from other musicians such as Steel Pulse and so on.

Majek who was on a roller-coaster of praises, especially for the hit song “Send Down the Rain”, somewhat felt betrayed.

I had to make The Rainmaker understand that in the business one had to take every criticism in one’s stride.

That’s how superstars are made, for as Oscar Wilde quipped: “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

There is no denying that Majek was a genius who came well ahead of his time, and in a land that took pride in killing her heroes.

He was seen in many quarters as the natural successor of Bob Marley in the reggae realm, a tremendous prophet fighting for the downtrodden of the earth.

Being gifted is a tough act to sustain because there are many crazy demons haunting the gifted ones.

I could even feel it from the first moment I went with the bohemian journalist Azuka Jebose to Jerry Anazia’s Ace Night Club in Ikeja for the press launch of his debut album “Prisoner of Conscience”.

In the beautiful innocence of Majek that evening I could see tragedy lurking in the shadows of the likes of earlier tragic young musicians of the world such as Otis Redding, Richie Valens, Sid Vicious, John Lennon and so on.

When images of Majek wasting away started appearing in the media, I felt that my worst fears had come back to haunt me.

The later years of travails of abandonment, destitution and near hopelessness cannot take away the trailblazing triumphs of Majek.

He was a natural leader who dared to sing where angels feared to lift a voice.

His camaraderie could be infectious. For instance, he would see his fellow reggae artist Ras Kimono and scream: “Gangsta! Guns shooting kpa-kpa-kpa!”

Majek was a philosopher who had deep thoughts and redoubtable application.

I believe it was his insatiable quest for knowledge that led him to spiritualism and suchlike that eventually unhinged him.

It was obvious that many people took advantage of him, but there is no point making recriminations here.

Majek Fashek died on June 1, 2020 at just 57, but he did enough work in his lifetime to ensure that he will never really die.

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