Black Major has signed legendary South African composer, singer and guitarist Ray Phiri to a management deal.
The deal comes forty years after Ray “Chikapa” Phiri left Mpumulanga for Johannesburg, with the aim of making it in the music industry. It also comes in the year that the prolific musician enters his seventieth year.
“It’s a real honour to have Ray as part of our Black Major roster of artists,” says Sevi Spanoudi, Black Major founder.
“We have built this company around artists that we passionately believe in, and we are looking forward to working with one of the best that this country has ever produced.”
Alongside his growing slate of live performances, a recording of Ray Phiri: The Man, The Music & Friendships – a critically acclaimed 2016 performance at Johannesburg’s Bassline – is due to be released early May 2017. Fans will also be thrilled to know that preparations are currently underway for a new studio album featuring a host of local and international collaborations.
The Black Major deal once again reveals Phiri’s inability to rest on his quite considerable laurels – which include being awarded the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver in 2011 (for his contribution to the South African music industry and the successful use of the arts as an instrument of social transformation) and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 18th South African Music Awards in 2012. As an artist, Phiri has always been driven by a deep curiosity for the world around him and a passion for making music that’s deeply planted in the country that he was born into. Neither of these have diminished as he’s grown older.
“I’m a student of life and I’ll never stop discovering, creating, and exploring,” says Phiri of his energy to continue recording, writing and performing when others might be eyeing a quieter life. “It’s never been my objective to make commercial music but instead transform South African music into something respectable. In the end, it’s your art that remains when everything else has gone.”
Phiri has been an integral part of many seminal moments in South African music. From founding Soweto Soul flagbearers, The Cannibals, and acclaimed Afro-fusion band Stimela, to his work on Paul Simon’s Grammy Award winning Graceland album and his solo work, Phiri’s musicianship and songwriting is woven into the country’s musical history.
As part of the Black Major roster, Phiri joins a line-up of exciting South African artists including Beatenberg, Sibot, DJ Lag, Christian Tiger School, Bongeziwe Mabandla, John Wizards, Fever Trails, Card on Spokes and BCUC.
Written by Diane Coetzee