Wed | Dec 12, 2018

Overseas spice to ska festival

Published:Saturday | November 19, 2016 | 12:27 AMRoy Black
Harris 'BB' Seaton (The Gaylads) accepts a JaRIA award from Mayor Angela Brown-Burke.

Overseas acts comprise close to a third of the on-stage performers at the upcoming One World Ska and Rocksteady Music Festival slated for the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on Saturday, November 26. Of the 14 acts down to perform, two are from the United States, one is from The United Kingdom and one is from Spain. The other acts are from Jamaica, although some spend most of their time on the overseas circuit honouring engagements.

Out of Barcelona, Spain comes The Soweto Ska Band to grace the stage of the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre, as the highly anticipated spectacle unfolds in all its glory. The band came together in 1998, when they began to show an admiration for certain forms of Jamaican big bands music of the 1960s. Soweto idolise Jamaican artistes like The Wailing Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Justin Hines and The Dominos, Jackie Opel and The Skatalites band, who they try to emulate. Their music transports you to the dance floors of a 1960s Jamaica, where orchestras made people move to the infectious beat of the ska and other syncopated rhythms. To date the band has released three recordings: Select EP (2007), You Give Me Fever (2008) and South West Town (2011). Recorded and produced in the 60s Jamaican style, the band will release their new album next month - an LP full of ska, Jamaican rhythm and blues and rocksteady. They have also performed with Jamaican stalwarts like The Skatalites band, Toots and The Maytals, Laurel Aitken, Rico Rodriguez, B.B. Seaton, Winston Francis, Derrick Morgan and Dennis Alcapone.

The Brooklyn Attractors, is another of the overseas acts set to perform at the festival. They were founded by trumpeter, Rich Graiko in 2011, as a way of paying homage to the 1960s and 1970s era of Jamaican and American instrumental music. The group, which includes the legendary Jamaican percussionist Larry McDonald, plans to bring to the festival, influences from Tommy McCook and The Supersonics, The Soul Vendors and Rico Rodriguez. In so doing, they hope to push forward on old traditions, and leave a lasting impression on patrons.

The mellifluous tones of the Skatalites band had dancers forever flooding dance floors in dancehalls throughout Kingston in the 1960s. Comprising the best musicians in the land, the band became legendary, backing the biggest ska hits of the day by artistes like The Wailers, Toots and The Maytals, Jackie Opel, Lord Creator and others, while recording several exemplary instrumentals. Although being together for only 18 months after forming in 1964, the band was widely rated as the most popular exponent of the ska beat. They reformed in 1983, after an approximate 20-year hiatus and shortly after, began to tour regularly. Now, after more than 50 years and various lineup changes, they continue to retain their unique sound and style and have not stopped thrilling audiences in every corner of the globe. They hope to bring that aura of nostalgia and excitement to the stage of  The Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre on the night of November 26, to take patrons back to the days when ska was the heartbeat of the nation.

The festival will also see B.B. Seaton and The Gaylads out of The U.K. The group planted its roots in Jamaica in the mid-1960s with a long line of hits that included Lady With The Red Dress, You’ll Never Leave Him, Stop Making Love Beside Me, You Should Never Do That, No Good Girl, Give A Helping Hand, Message To My Girl, Love Me With All Your Heart, Red Rose, Peculiar Man, Don’t Say No, Joy In The Morning, She Want It, Hard To Confess, Over The Rainbow’s End, ABC Rocksteady, There’s a Fire, My Jamaican Girl and more. Although undergoing a couple of lineup changes, the group have managed to retain their high-pitched three-part harmony sound that was uniquely their own, and they have vowed to bring it to the Festival's stage. They continue to successfully perform  their original material both in Jamaica and the U.K.

Other performers include Toots and The Maytals, Bob Andy, Leroy Sibbles, U-Roy (king of toasters), Derrick Morgan (King of Ska),  Stranger Cole, and the bands –Lloyd Parks and We The People, Sparrow Martin and Skasonic, Yard Beat, and Earth Cry. Sound System selectors are Dexter Campbell (the Ska Professor) and Roy Black from Klas’ Saturday Night Alternative. Ticket outlets are at Derrick’s One Stop in Twin Gates –Constant Spring Road, Fontana Pharmacy –Barbican and Ocho Rios, Bill Express and select Mailpac locations Islandwide, RJR gift shop, The Pegasus Hotel and on line at http://www.