Tosin Ajirire, Paul Osuyi, Asaba, with agency report
Legendary reggae singer, known for the hit singles like Under Pressure and ‘We no want,’ Ras Kimono, whose real name was Ukeleke Onwubuya, is dead. He died in Lagos, yesterday, at 60.
Kimono’s last public outing, Daily Sun gathered, was at Sir Shina Peters 60th birthday party, on May 30.
The renowned singer, who was in the forefront of the Nigerian music revolution of the 1990’s, is one of the most accomplished reggae acts Nigeria has ever produced.
Reports indicated that he was to travel to the United States of America on Saturday night when he complained of not feeling too well. He was rushed to an hospital in Ikeja, Lagos, before he was later taken to Lagoon Hospital, on the Island.
Ras Kimono’s debut album, Under Pressure, led by the single “Rum-Bar Stylée,” was a big hit in the Nigerian music scene in 1989.
Kimono served a long apprenticeship on the Nigerian music circuit, and experimented with a number of styles, before making his late 1980’s 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 a Jamaican and native African influence.
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.
Music veterans, Tony Okoroji, Sir Shina Peters and others are reportedly meeting to make burial plans.
Daily Sun, however, gathered that Kimono had “nursed certain ailments for some time…We are waiting for post-mortem as we can’t actually say what killed him.” Okoroji, who said he shook hands with Ras Kimono, lamented, “This is a terrible loss to the music industry.”
Another reggae star, Majekodunmi Fasheke, popularly known as Majek Fashek wrote: “Our last discussion was for you to meet with my manager in America before death took tou away.”
Also, President of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria (PMAN), Mr Pretty Okafor, said he was shocked when he received the news.
In his tribute, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State commiserated with the music industry, Kimono’s family and friends of the reggae musician.
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Charles Aniagwu, Okowa sent condolences to the music industry and the Onicha-Olona community in Aniocha North Local Government Area of the state over the loss.
Also, former Anambra State governor, Peter Obi has expressed sadness at Kimono’s death and recounted his last encounter with the musician. Obi said it was not up to two weeks he met Kimono at a function where he expressed longing to meet up with him in the future, followed by the normal exchange of telephone numbers.
He said he was saddened by Kimono’s death and described him as one musician whose songs conveyed meaning, even as they were pleasant to the ears.