Ray Phiri


Raymond Chikapa Enock Phiri was a South African jazz, fusion and mbaqanga musician. He died at the age of 70 after battling lung cancer.

Born in 23 March 1947 in Mpumalanga to a Malawian immigrant worker and South African guitarist nicknamed ‘Just Now’ Phiri. He became founding member of the Cannibals in the 1970s. When the Cannibals separated, Ray founded Stimela, with whom he conceived gold and platinum-selling albums like ‘Fire, Passion and Ecstacy’ (1991), ‘Look, Listen and Decide’ (1992) as well as the controversial ‘People Don't Talk So Let's Talk’.

The veteran artist was born near Nelspruit in former eastern Transvaal, now the Mpumalanga province, in South Africa. In 1985, Paul Simon asked Ray along with Ladysmith Black Mambazo to join his 'Graceland' project, which was successful and also helped the South African musicians to make names for them abroad. Ray was to work together with Paul Simon again on Simon's 'Rhythm of the Saints' album, which saw him perform on stages such as Central Park and Madison Square Garden as well as appearing on top television shows in the USA. In 2012, Paul Simon organised a 'Graceland' anniversary tour, to which Ray came along as well.


ZANelspruit, South Africa
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Profile added by Ano Shumba on 07 Apr 2015