Sunday, June 10, 2018 3:58 pm
The music sector in Nigeria has lost a star: Ras Kimono. He died this Sunday, 10 June in Lagos.
The music star was about to travel to the US when he fell ill. He was rushed first to one hospital in Ikeja and or better attention, Lagoon Hospital in Lagos.
The Man, Ras Kimono
Kimono whose debut album Under Pressure, led by the single “Rum-Bar Stylée”, was, according to Wikipedia, a big hit in the Nigerian music scene in 1989. Before he released his solo album, he was in a group called The Jastix along with Amos McRoy and Majek Fashek.
‘Born Ekeleke Elumelu, in Delta State, Nigeria, hee started out his career, firstly as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor and later as a member of the legendary Jastix Reggae Ital, alongside Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie. His music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life. He released his solo debut album “Under pressure” on the Premier Music label in 1989, which propelled him to instant continental stardom. The album had hits like “Under pressure”, “Rasta get jail” and the massive hit “Rhumba style”.
He later released a string of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the USA, promoting his brand of Reggae music. He has won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards and many more. He was still performing to a loyal fan-base of all ages and his music is still played on Radio, throughout West Africa. Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, experimenting with a number of styles, before making his late 80s breakthrough as a reggae singer.
Together with his Massive Dread Reggae Band, Kimono released his debut album, Under Pressure, in 1989 accompanied by the popular single, ‘Rum-Bar Stylee’, this revealed both a Jamaican and native African influence (the latter particularly evident in his ‘Patois’ delivery, as frequently employed by Fela Kuti to communicate with the urban underclass). His strongly polemical lyrics produced album sales of over 100, 000 copies, and a fervent following for his advocacy of social change.
‘What’s Gwan’ proved even more successful, with the topics selected including legalisation of marijuana, and the need for Africans to intellectually repel colonialism and its arbitrary boundaries between tribes. Most controversially, he was not averse to naming directly those in power he saw as synonymous with backdoor imperialism.’
Nigerians Mourn Him
More Nigerians on Sunday mourned the passing of “Ras Kimono”. Mr Tony Okoroji, Chairman of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), on Sunday lamented the demise of Nigerian reggae music legend Ras Kimono, who passed on at 60.
Okoroji described the death of the Delta State-born singer as “shocking and a big loss to the entertainment industry.”
“His death came as a shock, because I spoke with him yesterday.
“He will be terribly missed, as he was not just a board member of COSON, but a personal friend who gave me 100% support.
”He was supposed to travel to the United States today before he complained of a a minor illness last night,” he said.
Okoroji, however, stressed that solace should be drawn from the fact that the late reggae legend left indelible footprints as a passionate artiste who contributed his quota to the growth of Nigerian music.
He, therefore, prayed God to grant his family the strength to bear the irreparable loss, adding that COSON and the entire music industry would celebrate the life and times of the late singer.
Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta in a condolence message conveyed in a statement issued in Asaba by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu condoled with the Onicha Olona community in Delta where Kimono hailed from.
He described the deceased as a true music legend whose songs entertained Nigerians in the 80s.
The governor noted that Kimono spent all his life promoting good governance, good entertainment and healthy community relations through his reggae music.
“I received with sadness the news of the passing away of Ras Kimono, a great reggae legend.
“He will be remembered for his hit song “Rumbar Stylee.
“I join lovers of reggae music to mourn this great loss. He belonged to an era of great reggae music exponents in Nigeria,” Okowa said.
He commended the late Kimono for contributing to the development of music in Nigeria and sustaining his interest in the music industry even in old age by participating in several music concerts.
Okowa affirmed that the music industry in Nigeria benefitted from the contribution of the late musician who also mentored many young musicians.
He prayed that the almighty God would accept the soul of the departed and comfort the family he left behind.
While paying tribute to the late musician, Nigerians also described him as a social crusader and a revolutionary who through his music canvassed a better Nigeria.
Temitayo Otun, popularly known as “Dilo” said that Kimono was in the forefront of a crusade who used his music to preach the need for a better Nigeria.
“He wanted his country to be great and he criticised every regime that was not getting things right with his music.
“I will miss him greatly because he made us musicians to be fearless and put out good songs.
“He was a legend and he strove for a better country.
“May he rest in peace,” he said.
Another artiste, Emmanuel Afemikhe, popularly known as “Emizon’’ said Ras Kimono was one of those that inspired him into music and he still listens to him.
“It is sad that he had left the stage, and the world for us to continue where he stopped.
“May he rest in peace,’’ he said.
Also, Sunday Amaize, musician, popularly known as “Pupa Sunday”, said that Kimono would be remembered for his songs which had great impact on people and the nation.
He added that the Nigerian music industry would miss the great legend.
“R.I.P. Reggae Icon; you are away but your great songs lives,” he said.
An artisan, Mr Madu Okeke, said that he was enjoying his lunch when he heard the news and rushed to inform his neighbours.
“I am still in shock. I had been playing his music ever since. He was a good man and championed a cause for the downtrodden.
“I will miss him and his good music. May he rest well,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Samuel Adejo, an artisan, noted that Kimono was not dead.
” His music is evergreen, he wants his fellow musicians to continue where he stopped.
“He tried, the struggled continues. May he rest in peace,” he said.
Austin Peter, a popular reggae artiste known as ‘King Wadada’, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the entire music industry would miss Ras Kimono.
Peter said that Kimono was one of the greatest rub-a-dub artistes to have reigned in the whole of Africa.
“Ras Kimono is gone, I am going to miss him a great deal because he really impacted positively on some of my music.
“It is going to be a sad moment in the music industry because he had a lot of friends and fans all around the country,” he said.
The musician said that he was short of words and could not say much because he was still in shock of the reality of Kimono’s death.
The deceased started out his career, firstly as a student of Gbenoba Secondary School Agbor and later as a member of the legendary Jastix Reggae Ital, alongside Majek Fashek, Amos McRoy Jegg and Black Rice Osagie.
His music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life.
He released his solo debut album “Under pressure” on the Premier Music label in 1988, which propelled him to instant continental stardom.
The album had hits like “Under pressure”, “Rasta get jail” and the massive hit “Rhumba style”.
He was to release a string of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the USA, promoting his brand of Reggae music.
He won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Awards.
He continued to perform till date to a loyal fan-base of all ages and his music is still played on Radio, throughout West Africa.