Art is esoteric. Music is spiritual. In the heart of spirituality lies the soul of music. Deities crave sounds and gods demand music to unleash their powers. There is no spiritual movement without some kind of musical accompaniment.
It is from the spiritual realm musicians draw inspiration. Some have said they experience some kind of esoteric presence while creating masterpieces. The great Victor Uwaifo swears his soul was pierced by the ‘Mammy Water’ (Water Goddess) who he claimed he encountered while meditating at the Lagos Bar Beach. His hit ‘Guitar Boy’ was born from that spiritual experience which he described as eerie but as real as if he could touch the beautiful Goddess who rose from the sea and transmutted into the lyrics, down to the Guitar strings of the song.Majek Fashek, easily Africa’s greatest musician, before the demons began to disturb his soul, was a prophet whose spiritualism came alive in his songs, hit after hit.
Indeed, Majek Fashek’s contact with spiritism came early and as he said in an interview, he was a prophet from the age of seven, ministering in his church.A fan once described a solemn night when they were all at the stadium having quiet drinks at the Jazz Club. It was a very silent night he said: “We were all chatting at this point, as the music had been turned off. A strange sound pierced the air from somewhere not too far away. We could make out the strings of a Guitar but when the voice followed, we had chills all over. It was as if the hair on the nape of my neck stood still. It was the most sonorious sound, as if it was coming from Heaven itself, it was like an Angel was in a sober mood and decided to release his rather solemn message in a song. There was dead silence from us all as we listened, enraptured in such celestial sounds enveloping us all and swallowing the night. When he was done, we dared to move closer…behold it was Majek Fashek. This was when it dawned on us that he was no ordinary being. We knew that day that Nigeria’s superstar had arrived. Shortly after, he blessed the world with ‘Send Down the Rain’.”The mega hit, evergreen ‘Send Down The Rain’ validated Majek’s position as a prophet of sorts, perhaps of God because everytime the song was played on radio, rain fell heavily.
Almost two decades after, when Majek had been driven by his demons into the wilderness, a lady recounts that at the time the earth was scorched by the sun in her resident home located in northern Nigeria. She remembers how Majek’s ‘Send Down the Rain’ was played on radio and how she happily told her husband to expect rain that day: “It was an experience I will never forget in my entire life. This was well over two decades after the release of the hit song, ‘Send Down the Rain’. We were all sweating, the house was hot for weeks, there had been little or no electricity for days and the song suddenly came over the radio. We were always listening to radio because of power outage then. I looked at my husband and said, ‘expect rain today’, he mocked me that I was foolish but that evening, the clouds gathered and the winds bellowed in the first rainfall that year. It was a massive one; what do you call that? “
Majek’s descent into the wilderness began when he left the shores of Nigeria for America, in search of a bigger playing field in the international market. Nobody was in doubt that Majek was an international product who would surely become a megastar world over.
His rendition of the popular ‘Hotel California’ was played on MTV making Majek one of the first African musicians to played on the international music channel. Listening to Majek’s rendition of ‘Hotel Carlifornia’ today is still a pleasantly chilly experience.Majek Fashek singing was indeed an elixir to the soul.Speaking on his spirituality on HIPTV, Fashek aknowleged that God gave him the inspiration to make good songs which remained alive.
He said: “In every season there must be rain. So as long as there is God, the message of the prisoner of conscience, will never fade out. God always gives me the inspiration every year to write new songs.“My music cannot fade out because I believe in Jesus Christ.”
How did his decline begin?
The general belief is that Majek Fashek ventured into drugs while in America and became an addict of hard drugs. All his life, Majek continued to deny this claim.Even after he was taken into rehabilitation having turned a begger, found by a journalist, Joseph Edgar, begging under the bridge, Majek embraced rehabilitation but later cut it short insisting that his problem was not drugs but the demons which plagued his being.
Before his America sojourn, Majek was like an adrenalin shot whose infectious energy, charm pierced the soul like laser beams. Then America took him, nurtured him but spat him out and returned him broken.Yet Majek blamed the demons.
What are these demons?
Fashek is said to have read a book which only very strong men read and come out normal.Some people claim that Fashek dabbled into deep spirituality and was reading the dreaded, ‘Seven Books of Moses.’Majek himself admitted in an interview to reading a book which messed his life. He confided that he read a book which he was not supposed to read.
One of his singers and close friends, Imona, also alluded to this fact. He said in an interview: “Majek’s problem is spiritual. It was not caused by drug addiction. I have worked and lived with him. Apart from the fact that we worked together, he is my brother. So I am in the position to know where his problem came from. But we have decided to leave everything in God’s hands. We are praying for divine intervention in his case”
What is the Seven Books of Moses? According to Wikipedia, ” The Sixth and Seventh Books of Moses is an 18th- or 19th-century magical text allegedly written by Moses, and passed down as hidden books of the Hebrew Bible.”The Seven Books of Moses is described by some as a book of sorcery and enchantments used to conjure spirits, demons and Angels, saying it could be a very dangerous book for anyone who does not know how to use it.
Some say the book is the documentation of the exchange of recitation between Moses and Egyptian magicians before the dividing of the Red Sea. “It depicts semiphoras or seals which are said to be magical and is also said to contain powerful names of God.”, a historian notes.
Was this the book Fashek was referring to when he said he read a book he shouldn’t have? Did the book unleash the demons which Majek was to fight for the better part of his last years on earth? Majek who once referred to himself as a spirit, came down with an ailment last year and had been in the UK receiving treatment.
One of his close allies based in the UK revealed that the past year has been really tough and only last week they were positive Majek would pull through but that was not to be. The Rainmaker took his last breath, succumbing finally to God.
Majek was a deeply religious man, had no malice in his heart, sang for the emacipation of mankind but lived his life in domination of the demons he admitted he himself conjured. Africa’s greatest has gone to rest.May his soul rest in peace.
Moji Danisa, a journalist writes from Abuja.