Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker

 
Judge Dread

Judge Dread

 
Justin Hinds

Justin Hinds

 
Oswald Brooks

Oswald Brooks

 
Bruce Ruffin

Bruce Ruffin

Prince Buster

Prince Buster

 
Laurel Aitken

Laurel Aitken

 
Dandy Livingstone

Dandy Livingstone

 
Lord Tanamo

Lord Tanamo

 
Harry Johnson

Harry Johnson

Ska, is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s, and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant music genre of Jamaica and was popular with British mods. Later it became popular with many skinheads. Ska is sometimes seen as accidental music. In the 1950’s after World War II There was a heavy influx of American Jazz and Rhythm and Blues and Jamaicans clamored for it. As American R and B began to shift to rock n’ roll Jamaicans were in desperate need for something else. When local producers such as Prince Buster and Coxsone Dodd attempted to recreate the American R and B, it resulted in what is today known as ska. ​ Music historians typically divide the history of ska into three periods: the original Jamaican scene of the 1960s (First Wave), the English 2 Tone ska revival of the late 1970s (Second Wave) and the third wave ska movement, which started in the 1980s (Third Wave) and rose to popularity in the US in the 1990s. The stationing of American military forces during and after the war meant that Jamaicans could listen to military broadcasts of American music, and there was a constant influx of records from the US. To meet the demand for that music, entrepreneurs such as Prince Buster, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, and Duke Reid formed sound systems. As jump blues and more traditional R&B began to ebb in popularity in the early 1960s, Jamaican artists began recording their own version of the genres.[16] The style was of bars made up of four triplets but was characterized by a guitar chop on the off beat – known as an upstroke or skank – with horns taking the lead and often following the off beat skank and piano emphasizing the bass line and, again, playing the skank. Drums kept 4/4 time and the bass drum was accented on the 3rd beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The snare would play side stick and accent the third beat of each 4-triplet phrase. The upstroke sound can also be found in other Caribbean forms of music, such as mento and calypso. One theory about the origin of ska is that Prince Busta created it during the inaugural recording session for his new record label Wild Bells. The session was financed by Duke Reide, who was supposed to get half of the songs to release. The guitar began emphasizing the second and fourth beats in the bar, giving rise to the new sound. The drums were taken from traditional Jamaican drumming and marching styles. To create the ska beat, Prince Buster essentially flipped the R&B shuffle beat, stressing the offbeats with the help of the guitar. Prince Buster has explicitly cited American rhythm & blues as the origin of ska, specifically Willis Jackson’s song “Later for the Gator”, “Oh Carolina”, and “Hey Hey Mr. Berry”. The first ska recordings were created at facilities such as Studio One and WIRL Records in Kingston Jamaica with producers such as Dodd, Reid, Prince Buster, and Edward Seaga. ​