Ras Kimono dies a day before U.S. trip; Murray-Bruce, Melaye, COSON, King Wadada mourn


Nigerian musician, Ukeleke Onwubuya, better known as Ras Kimono, on Sunday, passed on at Lagoon Hospital, Lagos.
Ras kimono dominated the Nigerian music industry in the late 80’s after his debut album titled “Under pressure” brought him to limelight.
While there has been no official statement from his family, prominent Nigerians including Sen Dino Melaye and Sen Ben Murray Bruce, have taken to social media to express their grief.
@dino_melaye: Death why! Why! My brother and my friend. Legend Ras Kimono rest in Peace. What a black day! What an unceremonious exit. I love you and will miss you. Sad sad sad.
Dino, who shared a close relationship with the reggae star, posted a video of himself and Ras Kimono among other tweets that showed the close relationship they both shared.
@dino_melaye: Ras Kimono and myself in my village(Aiyetoro Gbede) on 31st December 2017. Legend is gone. What a dark day. RIP my brother and reliable friend.
@benmurraybruce: I feel so sad hearing about the death of reggae legend, Ras Kimono. He redefined the face of music and there will be none like him. He will be dearly missed.
Among the hits from his debut album included “Rasta get jail” and “Rum-Bar Stylee”.
The legendary reggae artist travelled to the U.S. at some point in his career where he spent six years.
He will be remembered for lighting up the Nigerian music industry alongside Majek Fashek and Oritiz  Wikili in the  80’s
Mr Tony Okoroji, Chairman  of the Copyright Society of Nigeria (COSON), lamented the demise of 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.”
“Right now, I am talking to you from the Lagoon Hospital, and I can inform you that Ras Kimono is no more.
“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 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.
Ras Kimono, born Ekeleke Elumelu on May 9,1958, started  his music  career 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”, “Natty get jail” and the massive hit “Rhumba Style.”
He later released a string of hit albums, touring all over Africa, Europe and the United States, promoting his brand of reggae music.
Ras Kimono won several awards including the Nigeria Music Awards, Fame Music Award, and before his death, he was still performing to  fan-base of all ages, and his brand of  music  still remained timeless.
Austin Peter,  a popular reggae artiste known  as ‘King Wadada’, expressed deep sadness over the death.
Peter said 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.
Kimono’s music was greatly influenced by the poverty, inequality and hardship he witnessed in his early life.
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.


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