Most people have never heard the name before and others think its just punk with horns. In fact, many of you have tapped your toes to Ska and don’t even know it. So what makes a style of music Ska?
The rythmatic pattern and catchy up beats (commonly played on the guitar) is the backbone of the Ska sound and truly defines it. This “Ska beat” can be incorporated into any other genera of music making it Ska, thus having over hundreds of different styles of Ska. Unlike every other music style that has one particular sound, Ska combines the ska beat with the sounds of any other music style or the combination of. Mix the Ska beat with Calypso & Mento and you have Traditional Ska, slow it down a bit and you have Reggae, speed it up a bit and add some British Pop and you have 2-Tone Ska. Trad, Reggae, Rocksteady, 2-Tone, 3rd Wave, Ska-Punk, Ska-Rock, Skankabilly, no matter how you label it and mix it, it’s still Ska and will still make you want to dance!
"It isn’t what you play, it’s how you play it."
Isn’t Ska dead? Though it may seam “dead” if your only source of music knowledge is major radio stations, but in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Ska is one of the biggest underground music scenes with fans all over the world. The Ska scenes in Japan, England, and Australia are just out of control. Even here in the states you can still find a good show going on at least every week.
SKA YOU KNOW
Here are a few ska songs that still get air play on the radio:
"Underneath it all" - No Doubt
"Obla Di Obla De" - The Beatles
"Time Bomb" - Rancid
"Date Rape" - Sublime
"Tide Is High" – Blondie
"Rudie Can’t Fail" – The Clash
You can even the song "Little Bitch" by The Specials on the video game Dance Dance Revolution. Let's not forget about the Horrorpops who are big fans of Ska and also have a Ska track on their new album. Even Offspring has a few Ska songs. Of course one of the original Rude Boys, Bob Marley has made quite the name for himself with his Ska/Reggae hits.
INTRODUCTION TO SKA
With all the different styles of Ska out there it is best to find a style that's most like what you are currently into then check out those bands live. Here's a list of what ska bands would be best to check out depending on what other music styles you're into.
Punk, Hardcore Voo Doo Glow Skulls, Rancid, Big D and the Kids Table, Suicide Machines, Less Than Jake, Skank'n Pickle
Indy, Emo Slow Gherkin, RxBandits, The Return
Rock, Pop Punk Reel Big Fish, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Mad Caddies, Planet Smashers
Swing Save Ferris, Jeffries Fan Club
80s Madness, The Specials, English Beat
Surf, Oldies, Word Music Hepcat, Dr. Ring Ding, The Slackers