It is said that every thing has a beginning and then there is evolution Ska music. This genre started in Jamaica in the late 1950s. It was eventually out of this form of music that all others such as rocksteady, and reggae and ultimately dancehall would originate. The genre ska combined elements of Caribbean mento, American Jazz along with rhythm and blues.
As world war two came to end more and more Jamaicans were purchasing radios this meant that they could now listen to music coming out of the United States. Rhythm and blues was a popular favorite of many Jamaican who would gather in groups to listen to Artists such as Louis Jordan and Fats Domino. As more and more records founds it way into the Jamaican market from the United States, individual such as Clement Coxsone Dodd, Prince Buster and Duke Reid took advantage of the growing need for entertainment thus sound systems were formed.
As traditional R&B and Jump blues began to grow in popularity local artists started to record their personal styles in the way they heard and interpreted the genre. This lead to the creation of the musical style called Ska. The first record of ska music was done at studio one and WIRL records. The producers were Prince Buster, Dodd Reid and Edward Sega who was to become prime minster of Jamaica. When Jamaica became independent 1962 Ska by then was a household favorite. Independence would be ushered in and remembered by songs such as ‘forward march’ by Derrick Morgan and ‘Freedom sound’ by the Skatalites.
Ska music would continue to be popular in Jamaica and many of the songs released by ska artists would be a re-do of what was popular in North America and Britain. As the musical forms of the United States evolved so did Ska music. In 1965 to 1966 when American soul took on a slower pace so did ska music eventually the musical form would evolve into rock steady. The popular period of rock steady was quite short thus ska would continue its evolution in to Reggae Music.
The fast tempo of ska music was predominantly a dance type of music and during its peak period many artists produced hit songs that are still favorites’ today. A popular group of that time was Toots & the Maytals the produced songs such as ‘54-46 that’s my number’, ‘Bam Bam’,’ ‘Pressure Drop’ and monkey man all were huge hits. The might Diamonds ‘Jah, Jah bless the dreadlocks’, ‘if I were a carpenter’ by Winston Groovy. ‘One My Love’ Sly and Robbie, ‘I will always love you’ John Holt and ‘wet dream’ by Max Romeo all became huge hits. Ska makes use of several string and wind instruments such as the trumpet, saxophone and trombone it also utilizes the piano guitar drum and organ.
The sounds of ska music have been responsible for all other genre that has followed in Jamaican music. The impact of the musical form can still be felt today and many of the older folks in Jamaica still reminisce of a time when ska was king. It indeed is the foundation upon which all other musical forms and culture has been built.