Continued from "Pato Banton revealed in heart part 1."
The challenging beginnings of Pato Banton’s life could have defeated him and warped his voice into a mirror of the fury and madness that flickered in and out of his life. Instead, he focused on his positive interactions with the world and turned his music into a resource for others who might also be suffering or struggling to find a secure foothold. While his songs may not have been initially obvious in their spiritual vitality, he was destined to grow in that expression once his basic foundation was established in the music industry. Pato states that “I believe my spirituality has been in constant growth ever since my hunger for Truth began at the age of 16.” His more recent work is intimately linked to his study and sharing of “The Urantia Book” which gathers worldly spiritual guidance into a common source and approach to the Divine. “My music is an extension of my life,” he says, “so it seems quite natural that as my spiritual journey unfolds, it would also be expressed through my music.”
More recent songs like “Light & Life,” “Heal This World” “Destination Paradise,” “Save Your Soul” and many other inspiring pieces have both mass appeal and a spiritual driving force that comes forth from Pato’s spiritual purpose in his music. He continues to create work that is reggae based, world influenced, hip hop infused and dancehall driven while also adding a 7 CD boxed set of “The Words Of Christ” which features “over 100 minutes of soul touching lessons from Jesus Christ as revealed in the Fifth Epochal Revelation, The Urantia Book. These inspiring teachings of the Master are narrated by Pato Banton and accompanied by the amazing gospel music of Clyde JJ Forde and the beautiful new age infusions of Antoinette ‘Roots Dawtah’ Hall” who he married earlier this year on May 25, 2014.
When asked about his spiritual approach, Pato explains that “after many years of searching the world’s religions, I came across this Revelation and it changed my life completely. I realized that my relationship with my Heavenly Father can not be had through religion, but only through personal experience.” As with many Reggae artists who create music that promotes One Love, Banton says, “I recognize all people are God’s Children regardless of their color, race or creed, and my highest motivation in life right now is to be of loving service to my brothers and sisters. My music has become a vehicle that allows me to reach and positively touch the lives of many souls all over the world.”
Good music makes people move. That movement can either be the simple response of the body to the beat and the vibration of the instruments, tempo, voices and everything that comes together to create a song or that movement can be an awakening in the soul or the nod of recognition of spirit as it weaves its way through the melody into our hearts. Pato’s music does both and this is the reality of what makes it special beyond being musically talented. The blessings of a gift that are utilized to their greatest good are a positive force in the world. We all have our talents (as gifted from God) and we can either waste and deny them or explore and develop them into a voice for uplifting ourselves and those who occupy the world with us.
Mr. Banton’s personal spiritual path has led him to embrace The Urantia Book but this does not mean that he now only creates music that aims to convert or sway people to his way of thinking. He explains that the “Book” “has allowed me to see the connection in all things. So it is not my goal to preach and convert, but to share and encourage. I’m sure that my stance as a spiritual pioneer of a New Revelation to humanity has created some barriers and alienated me in certain areas too; but, I feel this is a fair price to pay for something I believe to be crucial to human progress. I think at first people were wary of what to expect from me, but over time I have proven that I can maintain my spiritual path and still continue to produce a high standard of Reggae music and a great live performance.
It is passionate presentation, his interactive approach with the audience, and his unwavering musical talent that continues to draw fans and a demand for live appearances. Pato’s popularity in the genre or recognition by the public may waver and ebb and flow as all things of this world, but his ability to create good music that people want to hear lives strong and deep and has already produced enough in his life to date to make him a legendary figure in the music industry. What he creates as he goes forward is yet to be seen but with his kind of dedication, heart and talent well seasoned with commitment and years of experience beginning before he was even a grown teen, insure that his works will shine.
Those interested in experiencing a live performance with Pato Banton and the Now Generation can find a list of his upcoming gigs on his official website schedule. He also has several facebook pages, a full Reverbnation site, and many videos on YouTube that can be accessed. A few of the YouTube videos include "Go Pato," "Don't sniff coke," "Never Give In," "Groovin," "Baby Come Back" with UB40," "Live on Stage 27, Lost on Main" among dozens sourced from both way back and more recent works.
Pato Banton will be performing at several Northern California festivals this summer including the Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest on Sat, June 19. The festival booking agents state that he will be an asset to the festival because “he is a crowd pleaser, a great artist and performer … and he has many fans in the area.” The weekend lineup for the Oroville Rock Reggae Jamfest has an impressive collection of artists including festival creators Stephen Marley and IFA Journey. Pato Banton is an ideal choice for bringing in a positive voice to the Reggae hungry crowds that are anticipated for this first Oroville Reggae Rock production. With extensive experience and a strong standing in the Reggae music industry that is many years strong, Banton can only bring the festival to greater heights and success as he joins the topnotch lineup.
Banton will also perform live at the Sacramento One Love One Heart Roots Music Festival which takes place at the Rio Ramaza Marina on the Sacramento River. This festival runs Aug. 29-31 with Banton pleasing the crowds on Saturday as a headliner along with Natural Black. The One Love festival organizer, Denise Carter, explains her booking choice with effusive praise while expressing great respect for Banton as an artist who brings vitality and life to his performances. The One Love festival is in its sixth year and is proud to be able to bring Pato Banton to their billing for people to experience his charisma and inspirational Reggae works live.
Banton has over a dozen appearances scheduled in the June through Sept. 2014 span. He remains a very busy artist, dedicated to his art and finding avenues to share his creative joy with others. His home base has become Los Angeles, CA which leads to multiple Northern state appearances but he remains connected to his family and friends across the world. He says, “I get to see them regularly on Skype or once a year when I travel back to the UK.” His current tours may not include as many workshops for disadvantaged children or take place inside maximum security prisons to lead live music sessions with young offenders, but his work continuously spreads positive vibes and inspires people to seek peaceful, positive and loving answers to the challenges they may encounter.
Other interview quotes and tidbits about Pato Banton:
- Pato Banton’s birthday is October 5, 1961
- Pato once led a live music session in a Sicily maximum security prison. He states that “My experiences with young people in foster care, detention centers or even adult prisoners is always positive because I’ve been there and I can relate to their situation personally. The situation in Sicily was slightly different because of the language barrier, but within a short space of time (and with a good interpreter) we found that music was our common ground and many of the young people demonstrated their talents as musicians, rappers or singers. I finished the workshop with an uplifting message based on my own personal journey through life that left everyone feeling hopeful for the future.”
- Pato ‘s DJ stepfather Lester Daley passed prematurely from cancer, leaving Lillian and her six children with very little financial resources.
- At the age of 15, Pato was unable to find employment to assist his mother and siblings and resorted to “a life of crime,” was arrested and convicted for “crimes he never committed” and spent the 18 month sentence reflecting “on the things he had actually done and decided to turn his life around.” This reflection included writing songs and developing his dream of “becoming a bona fide reggae artist.” Pato explains, “While I was incarcerated at the age of 16 I was able to write many songs, poems, Reggae Raps and philosophical thoughts. I had no access to musical instruments but I could hear the full composition in my head. It wasn’t until I worked with Crucial Music that I had the chance to expand on these ideas with a band.”
- With little formal education, Pato became a successful band manager and leader as well as singer and songwriter. He says, “I’m not quite sure what experiences allowed me to take so much responsibility in my first band experience. I even produced all of our early recordings with no prior experience. Was it because of the responsibilities forced on me by my parents who were missing every evening from 5 until 10 p.m. leaving me in charge of four younger brothers and two sisters? Was it my role of responsibility as the “Gate Keeper” every weekend? Was it all the conversations that I listened to while “manning the door” that gave me my true education of how to interact with other people and maneuver my way through life? Or was it my simple ‘faith’ combined with my determination to fulfill my dreams? Maybe all of the above.”
- Pato decided to “scale down his career as a performer” after two of his sons were shot in a drive-by shooting while he was touring in America. They both survived but the experience “confirmed in Pato’s mind that it was time to follow the call … in order to put something back into his home town of Birmingham, England.”
- The V-Rocket System that Pato learned on was his stpedad's DJ set up. Pato clarifies, “except in those days the Jamaican style of DJ set had huge homemade speaker systems and valve amplifiers with flashing lights!” He started to MC on the mic from the age of 12 or 13 and says “so, by the time I was 16, I would be DJing & MCing to entertain the crowds all night long.”
- Pato participated in a talent show where he was “proclaimed the winner by judges Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling of The English Beat. Roger and Pato became friends with the relationship culminating in the single “Pato & Roger A Go talk” which appears on the Beat’s gold selling album, Special Beat Service.
- Some of Pato’s earlier hit singles from the ‘80s include “Hip-Hop Lyrical Robot” and “King Step” on UB40’s Baggariddim and Little Baggariddim albums.
- Patrick “Pato” Murray got his “Banton” last name after a London audition at Fashion Records who “instantly changed his name to Pato Banton and elevated him to the rank of a great British MC [since] in DJ circles a ‘Banton’ is a heavyweight lyricist.”
- Banton traveled around the world in the ‘80s with the top London MC Tippa Irie and recorded songs like “Double Trouble,” “Dance Pon De Spot” and “Dem No Know Bout Pressure.”
- Pato and his new wife, Antoinette “Roots Dawtah” Hall, who is herself a talented and well-established musician, are currently working together on two new albums and planning new ideas of outreach ministry as they tour the world playing positive reggae music. They hope to release one in 2014 and the next in 2015.
- Pato’s band, The Now Generation, came together after meeting keyboardist Antoinette “Roots Dawtah” Hall. The band members currently consists of Antoinette on keyboards, Drummer Macasea Bey, Bassist Benjamin Hamlin, Guitarist Andy Kushner, Saxophonist Cedric Bravo, and Percussionist Oneka Arika.
- Mr. Banton plays many instruments casually but has "never taken the time to master any.”.
Please see the accompanying slideshow for a photographic peek at Pato Banton. If you missed the complete story, you can find part 1 here.