A legend gone to soon

Today South Africans woke up to the sad news that a Jazz Legend had passed away. His name was Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri. He was born on the 23rd March 1947 in a south African town called Nelspruit,Mpumalanga. He was born to a Malawian immigrant and South African guitarist nicknamed ” Just Now” Phiri. He was a founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s.

When Cannibals group broke ray founded another group called Stimela with whom he received gold and platinum selling albums like fire, passion and ecstacy (1991, look, listen and decide (1992).

In 1985 Paul Simon asked Ray along with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join the now popular Graceland project. Which was successful and also helped the South African musicians to make a name for themselves abroad. He was to collaborate with Simon again on Simon’s Rhythm of Saints Album.Which awarded him the opportunity to perform on stages such as Central park and Madison Square Garden. As well as appearing in television shows in the U.S.A. In 2012 Paul Simon organised a Graceland anniversary tour, in which Ray participated in making it once again the success that it was in bringing the now Best Friends back together once again.

He had many achievements and awards for his recognition in the music industry. One these awards is called the Ikhamanga which was awarded to him by the then South African president.

He was involved in a series of car accidents. He was badly injured 1987 in crash that claimed the lives of his band manager and six others. In 2003 he sadly lost his wife in a car accident where he escaped serious injury. 

He died this morning at a Nelspruit hospital after a battle with Lung Cancer. He leaves behind 3 Sons and Five Daughters.

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