The History and Evolution of Ska Music

Music is discovered continuously in the most unusual of places, from bathrooms to your nan’s living room. As a type of music that makes use of all the styles of music, Ska mainly originated in Jamaica. The form primarily comprises of American jazz mixed with R&B. Ska is considered to be punk music but a lot slower with brass and string instruments. Ska is commonly heard on high-powered radio stations and needs an acquired taste. The very purpose behind the style was for dancing. With upbeat tempos and heart-quickening beats, the music is an exciting experience to discover for the novice music lover.

A Ska Band Composition

The typical instruments in a ska band are bass, drums, guitars, keyboards and horns along with the occasional saxophone, Trombone, and trumpet. Guitars in ska bands are known to hit the 2nd, 3rd and 4th beats in the songs and drum hitting the 2nd and 4th beats. The style of rhythm creates an energetic beat that makes it perfect for dancing. It is upbeat and exciting to be played at parties and social gatherings. What makes Ska music’s beat unique is that it focuses mainly on deep bass. In the 1960s, the music dominated even reggae music at a time when reggae was all the buzz.

Influencers of Ska Music

Although he wasn’t a musician, Coxsone Dodd is a very significant figure in Ska history. Coxsone was just a disc jockey but realized Jamaica’s need for identity and pride while it tried to receive its independence from Great Britain. As part of his initiative, he decided to record all the favorite bands at the time. The recordings were conducted inside his famous studio named Studio One. The music gained popularity, and many different countries tried forming their groups. One such state is England, where the Second-wave of Ska took place before America took to the music style.

Ska Dances – Skanking

Skanking is a dance that originates from Jamaica. It is most commonly associated with Ska and Reggae music for its wild and energetic movements. The dance is relatively simple and fits the style of music perfectly. You can dance by performing ‘The Running Man’ and punching outward with balled fists. Alternatively shuffling your feet and hands while punching your fists, is another popular style in Skanking. Skanking is unique in itself, and ska music fanatics find that they can relate to the music through the unique dancing style too.

Types of Ska Bands

The most popular Ska bands include Desmond Dekker, the Skatalites, and The Melodians. The Melodians were a Ska band that later on ventured into playing reggae music, which was created after Ska in the1960s. Second wave Ska or the Two-Tone is part of the evolution of Ska that was established in England. In the UK, Ska band members were racially mixed, with black and white members. Some of the two-tone bands were called Bad Manners, The Higsons and The Beat. The Third-wave Ska refers to the American Ska bands that were influenced by the Second-wave rather than traditional Ska. Some musicians of Third-wave Ska include The Toasters and Operation Ivy.