Paul Simon Pays Tribute To The Late Ray Phiri

Paul Simon Pays Tribute To The Late Ray Phiri


Music legend Paul Simon has paid tribute to legendary South African artiste Ray Phiri who died in the early hours of Wednesday July 12 at a hospital in Nelspruit.


Phiri (70) was battling lung cancer.

Graceful...Paul Simon (right) eggs on Ray Phiri during a live concert. (Image Paul-Simon info)

American Paul Simon and Ray Phiri teamed up in the making of iconic ‘Graceland’ album, working with the seasoned guitarist touring with Simon on the subsequent ‘Graceland’ World Tour alongside fellow South African Miriam Makeba.

Writing on his official Twitter account Simon said of Phiri: “I was informed today by a friend in South Africa that Ray Phiri had passed away. He was a beautiful masterful guitarist and an inventive musician,” he said

“He will be remembered as a patriot who used his music to fight apartheid and brought that message to the world. His contribution to ‘Graceland’ was immense and I am grateful and honoured to have worked with him,” he added.

Working with The Cannibals and forming the group Stimela at the disbandment of the former, Ray Phiri was an iconic voice of freedom and artistic beauty from his golden raspy voice, playful dance antics, sharp guitar wizardry and intense composition and musical interpretation skills.

Phiri received many awards in recognition for his contribution in the music industry, one of those being the Order of Ikhamanga in Silver awarded to him by the South African president Jacob Zuma. This was to honour his sterling contribution to the South African music industry and the successful use of arts as an instrument of social transformation.

He performed in Madison Square Garden, Central Park in the United States and appeared on iconic show Saturday Night Live as a guest in his illustrious career.

A son of a Malawian immigrant nicknamed ‘Just Now’ Phiri, Ray has also been officially mourned by the government of Malawi.

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