Yesterday marks the end of a musical journey which soared across the continent and internationally, a journey which founded many classics and honourable awards; but especially one which not only touched the hearts of jazz music listners but every single music lover in the world.
Wednesday morning it was confirmed that Jazz Legend, Ray Phiri, has sadly passed on after spending two weeks in the Nelspruit hospital battling with lung cancer, which he was diagnosed with two months ago. The musician has had quite a few health scares & accidents over the years but this was a shocker for everyone.
His music career was never perculiar, everyone had either grown up listening to his music or have heard about him. He was a jazz legend, a jazz-fusion star who was respected by most artists in the industry throughout all the genres. He founded the Cannibals but when it disbanded, he later founded Stimela which rewarded him with many gold and platinum-winning albums. A few songs which were popular included Zwakala Emzansi, People Keep Talking, I Hate Telling A Lie, Where Did We Go Wrong as well as Whispers In The Deep just to name a few.
He was also part of American singer, Paul Simon’s, ‘Graceland Tour’ alongside Ladysmith Black Mambazo which was about mobilizing support for the struggle for liberation and to promte dialogie across all cultures, which he later earned a Grammy for (Source: New24). Again in 2011, President Zuma had honoured him with the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver for his contribution to the industry.
He brought light and joy in the homes of many South Africans, healed souls with his instrumental talent but most importantly, we had a musician who fully loved what he was doing and that on it’s own, showed character and humbleness.
One of last performances was in May for the Africa Day Jazz concert which took place in Nasrec, Johannesburg. There he entertained everyone with immence amount of warm energy as he performed classics which will forever be played in Mzansi.
Lala ngoxolo, you’ll forever be remembered! Our condolences and thoughts are with his family and the rest of the country.