Ska never stopped you know! From its Jamaican music if the piano’s not playing ska or the guitar….any music you have…Reggae…even the computer music..the piano’s playing Ska Ska Ska…it leads the music so Ska is still the backbone of Jamaica music, Right?’ Bunny Lee. The music of Jamaica has had a profound and lasting influence all around the world and reggae is the name by which it has become universally known. Although the term ska is often used to describe all Jamaican music before dub, deejays and dread in the mid 70s, the real Jamaican ska was made in Kingston between 1961/62 and 1966.

Vinyl LP available in store and online.

Ska was the name given to the music that came out of Jamaica between 1961 and ’66, based on the American R&B and doo-wop records that the sound systems in Kingston used to play. But the American records’ style started to mellow out while the Jamaicans preferred a more upbeat sound. So the sound system bosses became record producers to cater to this demand. Sir Coxsone Dodd and Duke Reid led the way, putting the top musicians on the island in the studio to make music, with the emphasis on the offbeat making the music unmistakably Jamaican.

WIRL (West Indies Records Limited) was set up by the Jamaican politician Edward Seaga in the late 1950s. He had … More

Out now! You must have wondered how it all began with the Jamaican beat music called Ska. Let’s set the records straight, it was “Duke” Reid from Western Kingston who developed this beat based on the indigenous music of Jamaica. It was way back in 1952 and then “Duke” called it ‘Rhythm ‘n Blues’. Exciting, hypnotic, a mixture of Jamaican folk music and rock ‘n roll. Duke Reid, lover of music and the deep rolling rhythms of his Jamaican people heard the beat develop from watching his people dance. He got himself an amplified “Sound system” & while hiring it out for dances, he listened & he watched, on so many Saturday nights when the back streets & dance halls of Kingston come alive — & his dream was born — music sprung from the basic beat of Jamaica with all the USA influences and the power & beauty & joy of the earth. This respective ska album focuses on much of the work from The Skatalites & Babba Brooks.

New vinyl release available in store and online.

Whilst DJing, I was playing some of The Skatalites records and someone came up and said to me, “Can’t you play any ska?” I replied I am, they’re called The Skatalites… Yet another Don D. Special album with complete saxaphone and trombone harmony. Drummond, McCook and Alfonso at their very best.

Faithful reproduction of the original 1969 Treasure Isle collection featuring 12 prime slices of The Skatalites at their finest , … More

Born OTD in 1936, Lester Sterling, AKA Lester “Ska” Sterling. Like many Jamaican musicians of his generation, Sterling attended the Alpha Boys School. Originally a trumpeter, he is predominantly known as a player of alto saxophone. Sterling is a founding member of The Skatalites. After The Skatalites originally disbanded in 1965, Sterling played with Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and recorded several solo singles for the London-based producer “Sir” Clancy Collins.

Behind Jamaica’s musical reverberation lies the unlikely story of a boarding school run by Roman Catholic nuns and a brass … More

Born OTD in 1931, saxophonist and founding member of The Skatalites, Roland Alphonso. “..Coxsone maintains that his first-ever commercially minded session, with a band led by saxophone colossus Roland Alphonso, disappeared somewhere between the mastering rooms in New York and Kingston harbour”.

The first major account of the history of reggae, black music journalist Lloyd Bradley describes its origins and development in … More