Ras Kimono, A Great Nigerian Star Is Dead
Famous Nigerian reggae artist, Ras Kimono, has died. He was reported to have slumped at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, having scheduled to travel to the US, he was then taken to Lagoon Hospital in Lagos where he passed away.
Born Ukeleke Onwubuya in Delta State, Nigeria, Ras Kimono rose to fame in 1989 upon releasing his debut album, Under Pressure. His hit songs have since then rocked the Nigerian airwaves: ‘Under pressure,’ ‘We No Wan,’ ‘Rhumba Style,’ ‘What’s Gwan’.
Tributes have been pouring from across the country. In a statement, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said that, “Kimono helped to blaze the trail for the phenomenal growth of the Nigerian music industry. He was a worthy mentor to the younger generation of Nigerian musicians. His legacy will surely endure”.
The president of the Performing Musicians Association of Nigeria, Pretty Okafor described Ras Kimono as “a very humble and excellent person”. “He was more like a father to me than a friend or colleague. He was one musician that never had any issue with anybody in the music industry. We are really going to miss him.”
Ara, foremost female drummer and singer, has said that she was planning collaboration with Ras Kimono before his death. “I was still planning a collaboration with Ras Kimono, Majek Fashek and other reggae musicians. When I discussed it with him, he told me to wait for him to return from this trip to the United States of America but he never went. His death hits me badly because he was such a humble and kindhearted fellow. May his soul rest in perfect peace.”
Ras Kimono, who publicly celebrated his 60th birthday last month, never showed any symptom of illness. Gracing the birthday occasion were Nigerian star singers in their numbers, and tribute performances.
In an interview he granted last year, Ras Kimono hinted his health and life secrets. He said that, “I don’t smoke or drink, so I am able to reserve my energy for stage performances…I am also a vegetarian and that has helped me stay healthy and energetic. I have not eaten meat for over 36 years. What changed my diet was that as a Rastman, I read a lot of Bible passages and I learnt that meat is not good for human consumption…Since then I decided to live my life as a vegetarian… The same way I have not eaten meat in the last 36 years, I haven’t cut my hair for that same number of years.”
“My brand of music has kept me alive and still makes me relevant”. Ras Kimono will be greatly remembered, as his music still echoes and shakes people to dance.