• 24 Jun, 2024

Johnny the Mike Man of Trinidad

Johnny the Mike Man of Trinidad

Johnny the Mike Man of Trinidad

Khemraj Jonathan Matabadal of Trinidad in the Caribbean, also known as 'Johnny the Mike Man,' has an interesting and diverse background. In his early days, Johnny worked as a taxi driver when the fare was a mere 50 cents. Additionally, he was involved in the business of selling doubles (the national streetfood). However, his true claim to fame lies in his mike broadcasting company, which specializes in providing funeral, wedding, political and death announcement services.

Johnny's family history traces back to his grandfather, John Matabadal, who migrated from Calcutta, India. His parents, Albert John Matabadal and Juniya Matabadal (nee Malick), were blessed with nine children, comprising seven boys and two girls. Albert, a gardener, used to cultivate tomatoes and peas on a hill in Cascade, St. Anns, in order to support his family.

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Johnny was married to Kamla Matabadal, who unfortunately passed away just last year.  While Johnny used to enjoy spending time with his sister, Beena, from Maraval, engaging in activities such as playing golf in Moka, his focus has now shifted to cherishing moments with his friends, including retired principal Richard Jogie. He particularly enjoys reminiscing about the olden days.

Johnny's brother, Michael Matabadal, owned a popular establishment known as the 103 bar in La Seiva Village, Maraval. The bar was frequented by notable personalities like the late chutney-crossover singer Anil Bheem and the radio group 103. They would often gather there to socialize and cook delicious curry duck.

During his childhood, Johnny developed a deep affinity for Indian weddings and the enchanting music that accompanied them. He found himself captivated by the melodies of renowned artists like Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. Some of his favourite songs include "Suna Suna Lage," "Biraj Ka Dhaam," "Jaane Wale Dulhan," and "Suhani Raat." This love for music ultimately inspired him to embark on his "mike-man work" journey, which began with his first motor vehicle, a Toyota Crown with the license plate PY1897.

Describing his passion, Johnny explains, "In the past, people would rely on mikes all night long since there were no orchestras or DJs back then."