13 July 2017

Malawi Mourns Death of Jazz Music Maestro Ray Phiri As Tributes Pour in

South African jazz legend Raymond Chikapa Phiri on Wednesday succumbed to lung cancer at the age of 70.

Since Wednesday, tributes have been pouring in for Phiri who was born to a Malawian immigrant worker.

Speaking to Nyasa Times, veteran musician Waliko Makhala said Phiri was supposed to play on some of the recordings they were doing under the MBC digitalisation project but did not come to reality.

"I will remember him for the creativity and his fearless character as an artist. His guitar style was so unique. He managed to fuse different cultural elements and come up with a blend which Stimela become a household name," Makhala stated.

He added, "Phiri also had a distinct dancing style. A lot of afro jazz guitarists have been inspired by Ray."

Another Malawi versatile musician Masauko Chipembere paid tribute to the fallen legend, saying Phiri had left plenty to study.

"Rest In Peace Ray Phiri. I had hoped to meet you in this life face to face and guitar to guitar to learn about Malawian music and SA music. You have left plenty to study! Zikomo! Go well!," Chipembere posted on Facebook.

Representing the new generation, Drew Moyo recalled imitating Phiri in his younger years.

"I remember from my childhood imitating the legendary Ray Phiri. Hambani kahle baba," he said in a social media post.

According to BBC, before reaching international fame with Graceland, Phiri was already an established musician in South Africa and lead singer of 1970s band Stimela.

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