How did ska music change to become “rocksteady” and then reggae? We explore the history and evolution of this popular genre.
Origins of Ska
Ska is a form of Jamaican popular music that originated in the 1950s. It was the predecessor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the offbeat.
What is Ska?
Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. It combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. Ska is characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the off beat. The tempo is usually slower than that of rocksteady. The word ska is derived from a Jamaican spelling of the last syllable of the word quick or quick-tempo rhythm.
Where did Ska come from?
The music that later evolved into ska was created in Jamaica in the late 1950s. At that time, Jamaica was very much a British colony, and the island’s popular music reflected that influence. Ska developed from a combination of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. The first ska recordings were made in Jamaica in the early 1960s.
One of the most important figures in the history of ska is Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. Dodd was a record producer who ran the legendary Studio One label. His studio was responsible for some of the most important early ska recordings, including those by thinkers such as The Skatalites, Don Drummond, and Jackie Mittoo.
Ska quickly became popular in Jamaica, and it wasn’t long before the sound began to spread to other parts of the world. In Britain, ska found an eager audience among working-class teenagers who were looking for music that reflected their own lives and experiences. These “Mods” were also attracted to Jamaican culture more generally, and many went on to holiday on the island.
The Ska Movement
Ska is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and was the precursor to rocksteady and reggae. Ska combines 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 off-beat. Ska developed in Jamaica in the late 1950s, when Prince Buster, Clement “Coxsone” Dodd, and Duke Reid began producing records with the new sound.
What was the Ska movement?
Originating in Jamaica in the late 1950s, the ska sound was a predecessors to rocksteady and reggae. Ska music is characterized by a walking bass line played on the offbeat, accented guitars and horns playing linear melodies, and sometimes a trombone or saxophone “glissing” (quickly sliding up or down in pitch) on the 2nd and 4th beats. The original ska bands were The Skatalites and Prince Buster.
How did the Ska movement change Ska music?
While the Ska movement started in Jamaica, it quickly spread to the UK where it began to evolve. In the UK, Ska became more influenced by Rock and Roll and R&B. This new sound became known as “Rocksteady”. The change in sound was due to the slower tempo which made it easier to dance to. The lyrics also became more focused on love and relationships.
Eventually, Rocksteady evolved into Reggae. Reggae is a genre of music that originated in Jamaica in the late 1960s. The word reggae comes from the word “streggae”, which was used to describe rude boys (anti-social young men). Reggae is characterized by a 4/4 beat and relies heavily on bass and drums. The lyrics often deal with social issues, such as poverty and violence.
The Rise of Rocksteady
Ska music started in the late 1950s in Jamaica. The music was a mix of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. Ska was the first popular music of independent Jamaica. In the 1960s, ska evolved into rocksteady, a slower, more soulful style.
What is Rocksteady?
Rocksteady is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in 1966. The term rocksteady comes from a dance style that was popular at the time. This music style was a slower paced version of ska and often featured soulful vocals with simplistic music instrumentals. The rocksteady sound was created by slowing down the ska tempo even further and stressing the off beat. This created a more laid-back sound that was perfect for couples to slow dance to. Rocksteady quickly became the dominant form of Jamaican popular music between 1966 and 1968.
How did Rocksteady come about?
The change from ska to rocksteady was a gradual one in Jamaica. At first, there was a tendency to keep up with the changing times in England by playing the latest hits from the Top 20. But as the Jamaican economy declined in the mid-1960s, so too did Jamaica’s ability to import records. This led to a situation where local DJs and sound system operators had to get creative, and they began playing American soul records at a slower tempo – thus creating what we now know as rocksteady.
The slower tempo had a profound effect on the style of Jamaican music, as it allowed for more intricate bass lines and more room for vocal harmony. The change also dovetailed with another important change in Jamaican music: the move from rhythmic chord progressions on guitar to playing “riffs” or single-note melodies.
The first wave of rocksteady hits came courtesy of producers such as Duke Reid, Leslie Kong, Coxsone Dodd, and Prince Buster. Artistes like Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, The Paragons, The Techniques, Jimmy Cliff, and THE Maytals all scored huge hits with their respective takes on rocksteady. These artists would lay the foundations for what would become reggae music in the 1970s.
The Return of Ska
Ska is a musical genre that was popularized in Jamaica in the 1960s. It is a Jamaican interpretation of American rhythm and blues. Ska was the precursor to rocksteady and then reggae. The ska sound is characterized by a walking bass line played on the off beat, accented guitars, and a horns section.
What is the current state of Ska music?
Though its popularity has waxed and waned over the years, ska music is currently enjoying something of a renaissance. Thanks in part to the work of dedicated ska revivalists, the genre is once again finding favor with fans around the world.
One of the most significant recent developments in the world of ska has been the rise of so-called “third wave” bands. These groups take their inspiration from the original Jamaican ska scene of the 1960s, as well as from the subsequent British and American incarnations of the genre. Third wave bands are often characterized by their use of traditional ska instrumentation, as well as by their incorporation of elements from other genres such as punk rock, reggae, and swing.
While third wave ska bands have been enjoying increased popularity in recent years, they are by no means the only groups keeping the genre alive and thriving. In fact, ska music has always been something of a global phenomenon, with scenes developing in countries as far-flung as Japan, Brazil, and South Africa. Ska’s popularity may ebb and flow over time, but it seems clear that this unique and vibrant musical style is here to stay.
How did Ska music come back?
With the increased popularity of two-tone bands in the late 1970s and early 1980s, ska experienced something of a resurgence. This was helped by songs such as Madness’ “One Step Beyond” (1979), which reached number 7 in the UK Singles Chart, The Specials’ “Too Much Too Young” (1980), which reached number 1, and The Beat’s “Mirror in the Bathroom” (1980), which reached number 5. The Specials’ album Ghost Town (1981) also entered the UK Albums Chart at number 1.