A Short Train Trip To Skaville

Ska crosses the national boundaries and integrates with other musical styles, making it a fascinating form of transnational popular music. From Jamaica, it expanded to Great Britain. From Jamaica, Ska submerged into America, Japan, Indonesia and in many corners of the world.

From a classic touch of the roots in Kingston – Jamaica, and the hybrid jazz in the style of The Skatalites or Calypso’s wisdom and carnival vibe of Byron Lee & The Dragonaires,  ska then re-appeared through the new faces with the same spirit, to liberate. As was done wittily by a group of young people in England in the music collective called  2 Tone through The Specials, Madness, The Beat, The Bodysnatchers and The Selecters.

It didn’t stop there, ska reemerged and appeared in America with a lot of new energies. As one of the pioneers of this wave, the band like The Toasters and Operation Ivy seemed to pave the way for other musical units such as The Suicide Machines, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and many others. To this day, ska writes its rich history and continues to evolve and musically transform. Ska remains a genre loved by many music fans, influencing other styles of music as well.

In this year’s final issue, we’re bringing you a little ska playlist from the editorial room “A short train trip to Skaville”. We pick the tracks from the classic set that became the Jamaican ska blueprint, to the consciousness revolution in the “second wave” from England and the modern power of the third wave in America.



"I Wish You Love" - The Skatalites

"I Wish You Love" is an upbeat romantic song by the most influential ska band of all time, The Skatalites. This song, written by Charles Trenet and Albert Beach, has been recorded by many artists over the years. One of the reasons for The Skatalites' superiority is its solid and energetic instrumentation and its contribution to the development of ska and reggae music, and we can find that “cause” in this song.

“Ska Dee Way” - Byron Lee & The Dragonaires

“Ska Dee Way” has been re-recorded in various versions by a number of artists over the years and remains a favourite with ska music fans.

This song was released in the 1960s and became a popular ska hit in Jamaica by the Jamaican ska and calypso band Byron Lee and the Dragonaires The song features a fast and upbeat tempo and a charismatic touch of horn section which give a guarantee to move your feet.

“Concrete Jungle” - The Specials

The Specials were one of the first bands who boldly embraced multiculturalism in Britain - into ska, punk, reggae and pop. Sound of The Specials, to this day, become the guardians of the liberating spirit that ska brings to the world.

“Concrete Jungle” is a convincing narrative from the Coventry young men who solidify another important layer in ska, something that influences lots of people to this day.

“Bed And Breakfast Man” - Madness

This London band was also part of the early 2 Tone movement. Since releasing his debut single "The Prince" (1979) with the legendary music imprint from Coventry, Madness has continued to work until now. One of their songs on our playlist is “Bed And Breakfast Man,” a song which reached a UK Top 40 chart taken from their 3rd studio album, 7.

“Unity” - Operation Ivy

Operation Ivy indeed played a key role in the development of ska punk, which combines the elements of ska and punk rock. This American band has become one of the major influences for many ska punk units around the world. With their energetic and politically charged repertoires.

"Unity" is a popular anthem with an upbeat tempo and a fascinating chorus with a sing-along style.

"Rascal King" - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

This musical unit from the city of Boston, Massachusetts is one of the bands that entered the ranks of the successful "third wave" of ska. They have released a lot of discography although recently announced that they had disbanded.

One of our picks on year-end playlist is “Rascal King” from the album Let’s Face It.


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