Caribbean star Calypso Rose has released a new music video featuring the song “Far From Home.” This ska song appears in Calypso Rose’s recent album of the same name. The song was written for Calypso Rose by Kobo Town’s Drew Gonsalves.
Animal is the latest by Colombian band Doctor Krápula. On Animal you’ll find a mix of punk rock, ska, pop and some Latin American influences. Some of the lyrics revolve around political and social topics.
Although Doctor Krápula has some connection with the mestizo music scene, they’re primarily a punk rock act that should appeal to fans of this genre.
Madrid-based band Canteca de Macao was founded in 2003 and has caused a stir in international music circles in recent years with its wild blend of flamenco, Gypsy rumba, rock, reggae, ska, salsa and jazz. One of Spain’s most popular live acts, the group makes each performance into an exciting and joyful party. Canteca de Macao’s concerts include music, dance and sometimes jugglers.
Canteca de Macao was started around 2003 when several musicians from Spain, Venezuela and Chile got together to perform at Madrid’s popular flea market, El Rastro. The nine-piece band recorded a self-produced first album titled Cachai, which sold 4,000 exclusively at concerts. To promote the album, Canteca de Macao toured throughout Spain and the rest of Europe.
The band’s line-up in 2009 included Ana Saboya “Anita Kuruba”, Álvaro Melgar (‘Azelga’), Isidoro Lora-Tamayo (‘Chiki’), Danilo Montoya, Guillermo Martínez Yusta, Juan Tomás Martínez París (‘Juancho’), Pablo Carretero, Javier Rodríguez de Zuloaga (‘Zulo’) and Rodrigo ‘El Niño’ Díaz.
In 2013, to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Canteca de Macao released a music video each month featuring its greatest hit s and new songs. A tour followed.
The band released a CD + DVD titled Una Década that features its greatest hits accompanied by some of the leading mestizo and flamenco crossver acts in Spain: Chico Ocaña, Amparo Sánchez, El Canijo de Jerez, Alamedadosoulna, Juan Manuel Montilla (Langi), and Dremen.
In 2015, Canteca de Maca released “Lugares Comunes.” The band featured new songs composed by Chiki and Anita. The lineup in 2016 features Ana Saboya, “Anita”; Isidoro Lora-Tamayo, “Chiki“; Javier Rodríguez de Zuloaga “Zulo“; Rodrigo Ulises Díaz, “El Niño“; Carlos Leal Valladares; bassist Yago Salorio; and keyboardist Rubén García Motos.
Kingston, Jamaica will celebrate the 1st Annual One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival on Saturday and Sunday, November 26 and 27, 2016 at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, in Kingston (Jamaica). The Jamaican capital is the birthplace of Ska and Rocksteady music, two of the most popular musical genres played around the world today and predecessors of reggae.
Some of the leading performers of these two genres will appear from 3:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. on the first day. A symposium on the originators of Jamaican music and two documentaries on the genres are scheduled for day 2.
Ska music was first played in 1963 by the Skatalites in the Kingston recording studios and night clubs. The genre is today played by thousands of bands in the U.S.A., Europe, Japan, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and South America. It will be the first time a music festival of this kind will be held in the birthplace of this genre.
Artists scheduled to perform include The Skatalites (USA); Soweto Ska Band (Spain); Marcia Griffiths (Jamaica); B.B. Seaton and the Gaylads (UK); Sparrow Martin and Skasonic (Jamaica); Brooklyn Attractors (USA); Leroy Sibbles, former lead singer of the Heptones (Jamaica); Hugh Roy, the King of the Jamaican toasters; Derrick Morgan, the King of Ska music (Jamaica); and Stranjah Cole (Jamaica).
The festival will also feature some emerging ska and rocksteady bands: Yard Beat, Earth Cry, and the Alpha School Band, made up of students of the school that produced many of Jamaica’s great musicians, such as Dizzy Reece, Harold “Little G” McNair, Joe Harriot, Tommy McCook, Don Drummond, and Rico Rodriguez.
Sound system selectors are Dexter Campbell “the Ska Professor”, and Roy Black of KLAS the Saturday Night Alternative, two leading musicologists. Other acts are expected to perform.
“The 1st Annual One World Ska & Rocksteady Music Festival is a tactical move of Sounds & Pressure Foundation to position Kingston as a cultural tourism destination, and we have been working on it now going three years,” said festival director Julian “Jingles” Reynolds. “Jamaica is the only country apart from the United States that has given the world multiple musical genres, in Jamaica’s case, four popular genres, Ska, Rocksteady, Reggae, and Dancehall, and we believe this is of great cultural value as they all have impacted world culture. We therefore, want to bring world attention to Kingston, where Jamaica’s popular music was born, and Ska, in particular has evolved into becoming far bigger and more accepted in several other countries, away from Jamaica.”
This year’s festival will be dedicated to Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, Arthur “Duke” Reid, Cecil “Prince Buster” Campbell, Chris Blackwell, Don Drummond, Rico Rodriguez, Marcia Griffiths, and the Alpha Boys School, who have all made major contributions to the development of Jamaican music.
In the history of Jamaican music, there is a before and an after the summer of 1966. Jamaican history had always been both turbulent and productive because of its social movements and polarized politics but this time it was hot weather that would go on to make universal cultural history by creating the demand for in Jamaica for rocksteady and reggae.
Jamaica is a pretty small island and were it not for the explosive character of its cultural innovations would be considered as such. However, history has placed the island’s society and cultural history at the center of global interest and its especially the case for the music that it produces.
Even before reggae, Jamaicans produced the internationally acclaimed ska (as just one of their indigenous music genres.) Ska came into being during the 1950’s of commercial radio, hotels and the advent of nightclubs and of Jamaica’s sound systems and slowly exploded into global significance. At the time, mento and ska were the indigenous musical genres that dominated in Jamaica.
During the summer of 1966, both ska and mento’s popularity came to a halt. Kingston experienced a massive heat wave and the demand for ska dancing immediately went down. The demand for ska had previously enlarged with the migration of many young Jamaicans to Kingston, the island’s capital. Suddenly, these youngsters needed a new music to dance along to and to meet this new demand rocksteady’s popularity was born.
Rocksteady had much less instrumentals than ska and much more vocals. The drums and the bass were slowed down and arrangement was much less stressed. It was a crooner’s music and its songs told tales. It was immigration music at first and was created by the interaction of a Trinidadian in Kingston, Lynn Taitt, and the Jamaicans that he played along with. It was sort of a slow calypso turned Jamaican. Its name was coined from a song by Alton Ellis named “Rock Steady.” It was also born at the same time as commercial soul music was thriving so it was profoundly influenced by soul music. Musicians like Roy Shirley, The Maytals and The Heptones became the new dancehall pleasers.
Rocksteady’s popularity would only last until 1968, when reggae overtook it. By then, Kingston had changed into a city with many more slums and “dreadlocks”, to quote the Jamaican anthropologist Barry Chevannes, or rastafarians who fashioned themselves like mau-mau fighters by wearing dreadlocks, living in them.
The rastafarians had danced to rocksteady but with “dreadlocks” ideology came the need for a change in “sound” that matched their new ideologies.
Rastafarians had typically stayed out of politics and been a rural movement. It was no more the case. From rocksteady, reggae was produced to be less slick and as a much more raw expression. It was not yet purely political as it would get with Max Romeo’s classic album War Ina Babylon but it was different.
What’s important to note, however, that reggae became popular in large part because of the heatwave of 1966, which had brought along popularity for the new music rocksteady. Without the heatwave, there would have been much less of a receptiveness for either Max Romeo or Bob Marley.
Headline photo: Lynn Taitt
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