In his own words... Ray Phiri

By Drum Digital
12 July 2017

Ray Phiri opened up about himself

Legendary muso Ray Phiri passed away earlier today at the age of 70. Ray passed away after losing a battle to lung cancer. Five years ago at 65, Ray gave an exclusive interview to DRUM magazine when he took us to Mayfern, near Nelspruit in Mpumalanga to talk about his life, music and his dreams.

We put together some insights, in Ray's own words from that interview.

On keeping his family away from the limelight: 

"The person who's in the limelight is me, not my family. I don't want them to be recognised for any wrong thing or I put limelight on them. That's why I don't like to talk about them and keep them sacred."

On how he became a musician

"What influenced my career in music and even made me an artist is this farm (Mayfern). The only social meeting place in Nelspruit ever had was this farm and people from the old township came here every Friday for movies. That's when you saw people like Elvis Presley, Charles Jacoby, Roy Rogers, and country and western singers. If it wasn't for the cultural life here, I wouldn't have had the opportunity to be in music."

On his biggest wish at that time

"My biggest wish is to return to the Mayfern farm. I want to go back to that farm."

On his passion for cooking

"I love cooking. I have a broad knowledge of herbs and use them in my cooking. I cook almost everyday."

On his house always being full of visitors

"This house is always abuzz with visitors. I sometimes feel I'm denying my family a right to me. There's always someone. I sometimes joke that the only way to keep them out would be to lock the doors."

On the people who surround him

"I'm surrounded by a lot of good people with love. And they keep me grounded."

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