Ras Mandito, born Bertram Matture Johnson, is such a multi-talented individual that his full focus on the world of music has come only belatedly.
But now, the world of music is poised to be significantly enriched with his consummate singing talent and the moving passion with which he delivers his songs.
Billed as “Bert Johnson”, in 1978, he burst on the Jamaican theatrical circuit in a big way playing the title role in the unforgettable pantomime “Johnny Reggae”, and his was an unforgettable performance – especially ‘the songs that Johnny sang’ in that very popular Jamaica L.T.M. musical.
As fate would have it though, the theatre had taken first call on his artistic development and many other acting engagements followed, including a few video projects; mini-movies; and radio serials.
But Bert was never ever far from the music. In truth, from four years old, “Little Bertie” was giving rise to spiritual pandemonium in the church congregations whenever he sang with his ‘big’ voice. From as early as 1979, then under the acronym of ‘Bandito’, he co-produced his first single, “See What You Stirring Up”, with ‘Naggo’ Morris of The Heptones, as a contribution to the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa at that time. In the early 80’s, he linked up with Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith of High Times Records recording: “Fall Over”; “Jah Victory”; “Rolling River”; and “Macca Pot”.
But Bert’s energies were mainly consumed working as a supervisor for a major financial institution; and the pleasure of his performances were mainly limited to staff concerts and other corporate socials.
Years after suffering redundancy of his corporate employment, which came upon his embracement of Rastafari, Bert Johnson, always a truth seeker, has returned as Ras Mandito.
He has arisen with a fresh perspective on his life’s mission…his music is telling…but Ras Mandito “is also the complete artiste for all seasons!” He has been a member of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes & Affiliates (JAVAA) since 2004; and is especially loved for his proficiency in multiple genres.
On his new CD album, songs like “The Lion King”; “Haile H.I.M.”, “Rolling River”, “Don’t Mix I Up”; and the title-shot “History Of The World” are spiritually Rastafari charged. There are sweet, sublime love songs like “High Gear Love”, “Saw You In The Rain” and “Sweet Rasta Love”, while there are the lively, reggae-hip-hop-rap numbers like “Family Man” and a marvellous cover of George Benson’s “Gi Mi The Night”, done in tandem with Pam Hall & J.C.Lodge.
Ras Mandito is a virtual storehouse of entertainment & inspiration; taking recent timeout to author “The Testament of Rastafari…Unlocking the KJV” (search www.lulu.com).
In the midst of international turmoil and uncertainty of the future, here’s an artiste that comes as a fresh breeze, unfettered…like ‘a stone cut out without hands!’
“History of the World” by Ras Mandito: https://itunes.apple.com/album/id1082728884?ls=1&app=itunes