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Old 06-01-04, 06:16 PM   #1
Cardiac161
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What the hell is "ska" music???

There is a Japanese "ska" band coming to our city and am wondering what on earth is "ska" music.

Is it like punk or some type of surfing music or what?

Asking the gods of Otter to enlighten me.

Thank you.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:17 PM   #2
El Scorcho
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See: The Specials

It's an offshoot of reggae

http://www.skullyrecords.com/sowhat.htm

Too many kids now days consider it just punk music with horns mixed in. Not true.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:17 PM   #3
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Upbeat punk with heavy horn usage.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:18 PM   #4
stevevt
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http://allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg...02804&sql=C252

Quote:
Ska marked the true beginning of Jamaican popular music, coming to prominence during the early and mid-'60s right around the time the island was granted its independence. Ska ensembles were generally a blend of electric instrumentation and horns most popular in jazz (saxophone, trumpet, trombone).


Although structurally simple, ska has a bevy of influences, synthesizing American R&B, jump blues, Jamaican mento, calypso and other Caribbean styles, big-band swing, Afro-Cuban jazz, pocomania and other local religious folk music, and European ballroom dances. Of those, the first three R&B, jump blues, and mento were the most important building blocks. Jump blues tunes both sax-driven instrumentals and vocal numbers by artists like Wynonie Harris and Louis Jordan had become wildly popular at Jamaican dance parties, with sound-system operators making frequent trips to the U.S. searching for the hottest and rarest 45s. As R&B shifted into rock & roll, less crossover-oriented American performers like Little Richard and Fats Domino also became Jamaican favorites. In 1959, when the boogie beat had become less important in rock-oriented R&B, top sound-system owners like Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and Duke Reid (as well as restaurateur-cum-producer Leslie Kong) took matters into their own hands, forming their own labels, acting as producers for local talent, and recording the music their audiences wanted to hear when it was no longer readily available in the U.S. From there, the music took on distinctly Jamaican characteristics, melding influences from all the different styles in which Jamaican instrumentalists had been trained. The most important of these was mento, Jamaica's first indigenous musical form; it was essentially a blend of Caribbean calypso and Jamaican folk music. Mento ensembles used the banjo to play chords on the off-beat, and when this practice was transferred to Jamaican R&B recordings, those off beats were punched up and strongly emphasized because of R&B's emphasis on driving rhythm. This was essentially the birth of ska, and that rhythmic emphasis continued to dominate Jamaican music for decades to come. Important ska vocalists included Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, Prince Buster (himself a sound system owner), Desmond Dekker, Toots & the Maytals, and the very young Bob Marley and the Wailers; the Skatalites, featuring a number of virtuosic soloists and led by the mercurial trombonist Don Drummond, were far and away the top instrumental group, and also served as the house backing band for Coxsone Dodd's prolific Studio One. Ska's popularity declined in 1966, when the slower, cooler rock steady style found favor with younger listeners during the particularly hot summer; moreover, ska lost one of its top performers that year when Don Drummond was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend and committed to an institution (he died there several years later). Ska enjoyed a brief and popular revival in the U.K. during the late '70s and early '80s, thanks to the enthusiasm of many British punk fans for reggae records, and the skipping, infectious ska beat in particular. A more rock-oriented take on ska became popular in the U.S. during the '90s, although it was much farther removed from the music's Jamaican origins than the British version had been.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:18 PM   #5
El Scorcho
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Quote:
Originally posted by El Scorcho
See: The Specials

It's an offshoot of reggae

http://www.skullyrecords.com/sowhat.htm

Too many kids now days consider it just punk music with horns mixed in. Not true.
Quote:
Originally posted by PixyJunket
Upbeat punk with heavy horn usage.

See?
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Old 06-01-04, 06:23 PM   #6
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It kicks ass is what it is.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:25 PM   #7
asabase
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I knew a girl that was into the Squirrel Nut Zippers. So did she have good taste or not?
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Old 06-01-04, 06:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by asabase
I knew a girl that was into the Squirrel Nut Zippers. So did she have good taste or not?
No.

And they're not ska.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:29 PM   #9
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http://www.johnnysocko.com

Before Trout left.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:32 PM   #10
talemyn
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Ska . . .

. . . the speed of death metal . . .
. . . the horns of big band/swing . . .
. . . and some light-hearted comedy thrown in to boot . . .
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Old 06-01-04, 06:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Nosebleed
No.

And they're not ska.
I like SQZ, but they are not ska, they are swing/big band.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:43 PM   #12
DodgingCars
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Quote:
Originally posted by El Scorcho
See: The Specials

It's an offshoot of reggae

http://www.skullyrecords.com/sowhat.htm

Too many kids now days consider it just punk music with horns mixed in. Not true.
That's typically what's called 2nd wave ska. Ska is hard to define because it has so many sounds. The original ska sounds a lot like reggae (in fact reggae came from ska) and was performed almost exclusively by Jamaican artists.

The 2nd wave (British) ska, was rock and punk influenced, but it was essentially a lot like the early Jamaican ska, except faster and with British accents. See: Specials, Selector, Madness

3rd Wave ska started around the late 80s. This included a lot pop, punk, swing, influences. Bands like Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Operation Ivy, and Hepcat could all be called ska, but they sound nothing alike and all play very different "styles" of ska.

I'd imagine that they stuff this Japanese band is playing is probably similar to what you'd hear from a band like Reel Big Fish or The Hippos.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:47 PM   #13
Cardiac161
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The Japanese band I'm talking about is The Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.

Has anyone heard on them? I looked around the net to find that they have quite an impressive reputation.
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Old 06-01-04, 06:49 PM   #14
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Five Iron Frenzy is good
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Old 06-01-04, 07:00 PM   #15
the aftermath
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This is why Jamaica > Rest of the World
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Old 06-01-04, 08:12 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by AndyCapps
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Before Trout left.
Hmm...looks like they got a bit of notoriety...they opened for my band at the Cubby Bear in Chicago several years ago. They were pretty good guys but pretty raw back then.

As far as the question...I always considered old Fishbone albums to be a good intro into what I considered Ska music. I think they combined everything that made good Ska music.
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Old 06-01-04, 09:09 PM   #17
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Madness - One Step Beyond
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Old 06-01-04, 09:13 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally posted by El Scorcho
It's an offshoot of reggae
Actually it's the other way around. Ska predates reggae.
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Old 06-01-04, 11:40 PM   #19
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so jealous, you get to see tokyo ska paradise? What city do you live in?
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Old 06-01-04, 11:48 PM   #20
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here's a little more info on them:

http://www.projectj.net/skapara.htm

thanks for the notice though, I think I'm gonna to this, been needing something to go see live lately too.
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Old 06-01-04, 11:48 PM   #21
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Haven't been into ska for quite some time, but I still like a little here and there. Check out the following if you're interested in getting into some.

the Specials
the Blue Meanies
Mustard Plug
the Toasters
Voodoo Glow Skulls

Some good stuff. There are different degrees of ska. The Specials and Toasters are more reggae. Mustard Plug and Blue Meanies are still ska, but with less reggae and a little punk added in. Glow Skulls are super fast. Like someone said earlier, speed of death metal.
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Old 06-02-04, 07:01 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by AndyCapps
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Before Trout left.


I thought I was the only one around who knew these guys, let alone recognizing the difference since he took off. I bought Quatro when it first came out and promptly sold it that evening. Their early stuff always killed me and they used to put on a fantastic show.
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Old 06-02-04, 08:55 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by DodgingCars
I like SQZ, but they are not ska, they are swing/big band.

I loved Squirrel Nut Zippers.


The guy who really pioneered ska died not too long ago.

from lifeinlegacy.com

Clement "Sir Coxsone" Dodd - Reggae music pioneer and legendary music producer known as a hugely influential figure in the development of Jamaican music and credited with launching the career of Bob Marley and the Wailers, who pioneered the music genre known as "ska", a forerunner of reggae that combined American jazz and R & B with African-Jamaican musical traditions and inspired a number of bands including Madness, and who opened Jamaica's first black-owned music studio, died on May 4 of an apparent heart attack in Kingston, Jamaica, four days after attending a ceremony to rename a street after his famous recording studio, Studio One. He was 72 years old

http://www.lifeinlegacy.com/2004/WIR20040508.html#D12
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Old 06-02-04, 09:22 AM   #24
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I use to be really into ska music, but I really don't follow it anymore. Some of my faves were:

Specials
Bad Manners
Agent99
Toasters
Madness
Bigger Thomas

Now I might need to go pull out some LPs and CDs....
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Old 06-02-04, 10:35 AM   #25
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I've always had a theory that one of the reasons Happy upbeat ska saw such huge following back in the mid to late '90's was because people were tired of Grunge's drab depressing thing and they needed something to offset it.
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