Jamaican musical style developed in the late 1950s, which took elements from traditional Jamaican folk music of mento and calypso and of American music, including jazz and particularly R&B. In fact, the earliest ska songs were basically "Jamaicanized" R&B songs. The inovation that gave ska it's trademark sound was placing the accent guitar and piano rhythms on the upbeats as opposed to the downbeats, as in R&B.

The jazz influence came primarily from the studio bands that often backed the artists who recorded for the various Jamaican studios during sessions. It is so because many members of these bands where jazz musicians themselves, often a product of the famed Alpha School of Music.

Ska is the precursor to rocksteady, reggae and the various offshoots to reggae. Ska was popular abroad, especially in England during the late 60s as a result of West Indian immigration to England, where it was the music of choice for the emerging skinhead subculture and is still a dominant feature of the so-called "trad skin" subculture today. Ska also had a revival in England in the late 70s/early 80s with the emergence of punk and a "third-wave revival" in the U.S. in the 90s, but by then the sound had changed much from the original sound that permiated Jamaica during those formative early years of ska music.
* Byron Lee & the Dragonaires
* Clement "Coxsone" Dodd
* Desmond Dekker
* Duke Reid
* Eric "Monty" Morris
* Ernest Ranglin
* The Ethiopians
* The Melodians
* Prince Buster
* The Skatalites
* Toots and the Maytals
* The Wailers
by Chris Rodrigez July 29, 2005
Photos & Videos
One of the most versitile and long lasting genre of music alive today. Disregarding some peoples beliefs, Ska makes itself individualised by its brass section, walking basslines and offbeat guitar chords. There were 3 waves of ska; Trad, 2 tone and 3rd wave but most bands today are 3rd wave caus its totally cool. It has derived from alot of influences, of which jazz, reggae, swing and punk would be the most prominant. Suits, big shades and dancin' shoes are usually worn at a ska concert.
"Man, Ska is totally cool! All other music bites serious ass compared to it!"
by Riley July 31, 2003
Jamaican R&B artists developed their nation's first indigenous music genre when they began to incorporate jazz, African and Calypso rhythms into their songs in the late 1950s. The result was Ska, a fusion of the unique Jamaican mento rhythms with R&B. In Ska, the drum comes in on the 2nd and 4th beats, while the guitar emphasizes the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th beats. Ska bands usually consist of a strong rhythm section, guitars, keyboards and brass. The early Ska music of in the '60s and '70s spawned later revivals. The first was in the U.K. in the '80s, giving rise to bands like Madness and the Specials. The next, known as Third Wave Ska, struck the U.S. in the '90s.
Ska: Laurel Aitken, Don Drummond, Lord Tanamo, No Doubt, Mustard Plug, Hopalong Knut, Reel Big Fish, Skadaddyz, The Toasters, The Skatalites, Less Kro, The Busters, One Cool Guy, The Selecter, RX Bandits, The Planet Smashers, Desmond Dekker, The Specials, The English Beat, Madness, Operation Ivy, Big D And The Kids Table, Bim Skala Bim, Catch 22, Buck-O-Nine, Streetlight Manifesto, The Suicide Machines, Troy's Bucket, Bad Manners, The Forces Of Evil, Go Jimmy Go, Upstanding Youth, Skarface, The Pietasters, Mad Caddies, Save Ferris, Suburban Legends, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, The O.C. Supertones, The Scofflaws, and Hepcat.
by ♫ Highway to Hell ♫ February 03, 2010
A genre of music stylized by the influences of American jazz and swing, born out of Jamaica. It underwent three waves, Trad(itional), Two-Tone, and 3rd wave. The guitar is always played on the off beats, or "upstrokes." The bass line is almost always a walking bass line unless the band is more punk influenced (however, ska is what helped bring about punk), and there is a horn line, usually with some swinging stuff. Ska gave birth to many different types of music, such as rocksteady, reggae, punk, rap and hip-hop (it's true).
Reel Big Fish (3rd wave), The Skatalites(trad), the toasters(3rd wave) and the specials(two-tone).
by Roadie August 16, 2004
A music genre created in Jamaica. The orginal music called ska is now called first wave. Then it went to England and became two tone because of racial unity between black and whites. Then it moved into America and became third wave because it was more punk influenced in America. Ska bands are defined because of the guitars and keyboards playing on the upbeat, not because of horn sections, which are also commonly ascociated with ska. Ska gave birth to reggae, rocksteady, dub, and punk. Ska is also considered the opposite of emo because emo is usually more sadder sounding whereas ska is more happy sounding. The horn sections in ska bands are usually made up of saxes, trumpets, and trombones.
First Wave Band - Skatalites
Two Tone Band - Specials
Third Wave Band - Toasters

-Hey man what are you listening to?
-Ska rules, man!
by TheSkaboss August 08, 2004
Ska is a type of music that has an upbeat guitar sound. It is normally acompanied by horns but not always. Ska has been around since the late 1950's and Reggae originated from it. Ska, today, has more of a punk influence to it. It was not originated from punk, since Ska came around before punk. The two sounds mixed together when Ska hit the America music scene.
The Skatalites, The Selecter, The Specials, etc.
by Adrian February 21, 2003
A genre of music often mis-identified by pop-rock, rap and country fans as being a new band rather than a whole genre.

"What do you listen to?"
"Oh, they must be new!"
by Hu$tla' $teve September 02, 2003
Free Daily Email

Type your email address below to get our free Urban Word of the Day every morning!

Emails are sent from We'll never spam you.