Roydel Johnson aka Congo Ashanti Roy Bio

Johnson was born in 1943 in Kendal, Hanover Parish, Jamaica and attended Kendal School with Lee Perry, their mothers also being friends. At the age of sixteen he moved to Kingston to live with an aunt, and began hanging around recording studios, where he was taught guitar by Ernest Ranglin

In 1966 he returned home for Haile Sellasie’s visit to Jamaica and became a committed Rastafarian from that point on. Being a family man Johnson always cared for his 8 children; Marie Johnson, Christopher Johnson, Miriam Johnson, Tamara Johnson, Negus Johnson, Coretta Johnson, Garette Johnson and Queeny Johnson.

In 1977 he met Perry again, who after hearing Johnson play “Row Fisherman Row”, invited him to his Black Ark studio to record the song. Johnson arrived at the studio with Cedric Myton and they would record together as The Congos for the next few years, his tenor complementing with Myton’s falsetto and Watty Burnett’s Baritone.

When the Congos split up, Johnson began recording as Congo Ashanti Roy, and worked with Adrian Sherwood on his Singer and Players project and Prince Far I, the latter producing his debut solo album, Sign of the Star in 1980. Johnson contributed to Far I’s “Showcase inna suitcase” album the same year. A second album, Level Vibes, followed in 1984, this time produced by Sherwood.

In 2003, Johnson moved into production and set up his own Lion’s Den recording studio in Portmore, and his own Koto Koto Music label. In 2004, The Congos, including Johnson, announced plans to tour the world, and since then they tour the world non-stop.

In 2009 The Congos met Bregt “Braithe” De Boever and plans where made for an album on The Lost Ark Music Label. In 2011 ” We Nah Give Up” was released on limited edition vinyl.The Album sounds like the foundation reggae sound from the seventies. Check our press section for reviews.

In 2012 Roydel Johnson came to Belgium to record a new Solo Album. While he was in Belgium to do some recordings in the Lost Ark Studio, Pura Vida and Ashanti did a small tour. The tour was very nice and the people just love the vibes!

In Octobre 2012 Congo Ashanti Roy & Pura Vida released the album Hard Road | LAM 002   The album was released on 180 grams Red Vinyl Limited edition.

In March 2013 Congo Ashanti Roy is coming to Belgium again for the Hard Road Tour & to spend lots of time at the Lost Ark Studio working on new Lost Ark productions!

Booking details Pura Vida

A Pura Vida show is always spectacular to watch. 11 musicians on stage all playing their heart out, it’s quite amazing. Don’t expect just one style of music. Pura Vida delivers roots reggae with influences from lots of genres such as dub, blues, ska and even soul.

If you are interested in booking Pura Vida for the summer of 2012 or any other given time. Please mail or contact Maarten De Boever on +32479/391613.

Meantime check out some of the pics and vids in the artist section and get to know our band members.



The Congo Man is coming!

The setlist of these unique events will be very diverse. Expect old and new songs by Pura Vida. Songs from ‘We Nah Give Up’ will be played together with Congo “Ashanti” Roy. The notorious past of The Congos won’t be ignored as ‘Heart of The Congos’ has always been the great source of inspiration for Pura Vida.

Make no mistake about it: the fire is burning at the Lost Ark! The Congo Man is coming! Don’t miss out!

Presenting: Steven “Stevo” Van Coillie

The “Pura Man” and “Stevo” first met at the Lappersfort forrest in Bruges where Stevo was an activist. “Stevo” and “Pura Man” started playing together in the reggaeband ‘Najanonki’. “Stevo” was there with ‘Pura Vida’ from the beginning in 2007 as a guitar player.

“Stevo” brings influences from allover the planet to Pura Vida. Apart from a guitarplayer, “Stevo” is also a song writer, a composer and the author of the tune “Collieroots”.

Presenting: Stefaan “Collieman” Colman

‘He’s a young white singer with a voice like a black man, and shall move your hearth with conscious lyrics’ — ‘If we see such a talented young singer, we can only be happy we’ve kept the reggae fire burning’ — ‘Collieman could probably even be the first real reggae singer Beljam has known’ — ‘the Beljam Gentleman or Alborosie’ — ‘Another proof reggae doesn’t have to be Jamaican to be good’…

It are only some of the rumors that have been going around lately. One thing is for sure: 2010 certainly has been a year in wich more people got to meet this upcoming artist.
In 2010 the Puraman and Collieman went on a legendary trip to the Lion’s Den Studio in Kingston, Jamaica.

Collieman is featured on the debut album ‘Struggle in the City’ and can also be heard on the new record Pura Vida & The Congos.


Pura Vida @ Polé Polé

Check out these cool pics from Polé Polé!

Thanks a lot Koen Van Der Haegen!

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Presenting: Boris “Bobo” Perck

The “Pura Man” first heard of Bobo’s skills when he was playing with ‘The Roots Train Rockers’ an Antwerp based reggaecoverband.

“Bobo” is an original ‘Pura Vida’ member, being there right from the very early beginnings in 2007. His bass playing is legendary, profound and one of the essential cornerstones of ‘Pura Vida’.