Ska, Ska, Ska!

BY BASIL WALTERS Observer writer

Monday, August 04, 2014

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THE Jamaica Cultural Development Commission's Heart of SKA Festival at the Ranny Williams Entertainment Centre in St Andrew on Saturday was a celebration of the sound that heralded Jamaica's independence 52 years ago.

Revered songs of the legendary Skatalites Band were the order of the evening. SKA Rebirth, led by drummer Sparrow Martin, Skalareg and Fab Five all gave solid performances.

Trombonist Deleayo Marsalis, of the celebrated American jazz family, made a guest appearance and paid tribute to Skatalites trombonist/composer Don Drummond.

He did renditions of Roll On Sweet Don, Green Island, Reload, Occupation, and Confucius.

Veteran singer Eric Monty Morris, a contemporary of the Skatalites, made a rare Jamaican appearance. Backed by Fab Five, Morris showed remarkable agility on numbers such as Money Can't Buy Life, What You Gonna Do (When I Say Bye Bye), Oil In My Lamp, Pack the Trouble, and Sammy Dead.

Ska pioneer Derrick Morgan enhanced the event with his Independence anthem Forward March, as well as Don't Call Me Daddy, Be Still, and Blackhead Chineyman Man.

Stranjah Cole, a 'rival' of Morgan's, did well with When I Call Your Name, Give Me the Right, Come Back, and Rough and Tough. After a promising start with Feel so Good, Trench Town stalwarts Bunny and Scully hung on boldly for the remainder of their set.

The live show climaxed a day of art and craft displays, panel discussion on the history of Ska and performances from the top 'Duppy' bands in the island.




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