Majek Fashek And 2Baba – No More Sorrow – The career arc of reggae icon and spiritual balladeer Majek Fashek is such that every move he has made of late has been anticipated as a comeback.
He’s performed with Timi Dakolo at the Headies, rocked the AY Live stage shirtless, appeared at the COSON Green Ball shindig and has reportedly been in and out of rehab the last few years. All of these moments, while heavy on anticipation, have been short lived though and aborted prematurely before they could blossom into anything significant.
In keeping with the comeback narrative, Majek Fashek’s long and storied career opens another chapter,- hopefully,- with the release of No More Sorrow, a duet with his musical incarnate, 2Baba.
For those who fear the worst anytime Fashek has to appear publicly, his talent appears to have survived the odds. His song writing skills may be suspect,- he hasn’t released new material since 2004 and you’ll have to go farther back to find a record that enjoyed an audience but his voice has never been purer.
Still golden, that instantly recognisable thin, almost reedy drawl remains effectively able to steal any song from even the biggest of voices. He can bend a note and in an instant, make it heart breaking before moving to a more jubilant tone the next moment. On No More Sorrow, Fashek can’t be bothered really as 2Baba does most of the vocal heavy lifting. The Rainmaker did most of his work already back in 1991 when the original was composed and released on his Spirit of Love album as the track, Holy Spirit.
The lyrics begin with maudlin tripe about an imaginary El Dorado devoid of weeping, death or violence, where the spirit has taken over and peace is the status state of play. As if things are not quite morbid enough, 2Baba borrows a page from the biblical Book of Revelations and dreams visions of angels arriving with the wrath of God, and humanity running helter-skelter.
It’s all very doomsday conjuring but both icons also sell hope by promising that this scenario will also be marked by the end of sorrow and pain. It is the kind of pseudo-spiritual stuff Majek Fashek (born Majekodunmi Fasheke) made a superbly successful career peddling back in the eighties. This is after all, a guy who came to the limelight at a time such as this, speaking to the times and promising hope when the country was experiencing an economic bust. He attained prophetic status (and the title, Rainmaker) after his seminal Send Down the Rain was credited with doing exactly that, arriving at the perfect moment to mark the end of the great Sahel drought of the eighties.
Clocking a little over 6 minutes long, No More Sorrow tries not to outstay its welcome and ends with 2Baba refraining the chorus.
Aside from the novelty of hearing that golden Fashek voice on a new record, No More Sorrow is unlikely to be remarkable for much else. At this stage of his legend, anything Majek Fashek breathes on will be devoured hungrily by fans constantly searching for that great comeback moment. No More Sorrow isn’t it.
But like everything else associated with late career Majek Fashek, it teases that possibility and draws it out for a while. Human beings are eternally hopeful but maybe fans should resign themselves to the sad truth that this may be all they’ll get.