Birth Of Ska Film Trailer

The ska beat fills my soul and if this movie makes a trip stateside somehow my soul will be complete! Check out this trailer for a simply amazing new documentary on the birth of ska. Jerry Dammers (The Specials) among many others are interviewed.  It has been completed and recently screened in London. I hope the originators THE SKATALITES have some parts in the movie as well.

London in the 1950’s was a cold place in more ways than the obvious. Or so it appeared if you were one of the thousands of newly arrived Jamaicans. Many were overqualified for their menial jobs. Thousands of others quite simply could not get work. Discrimination and racial tensions culminated in fierce riots in both Nottingham and Notting Hill Gate.

It was in this environment that the Jamaican soundmen; Duke Vin and Count Suckle arrived in the UK. They both stowed away on a boat from Kingston and brought with them a sound that was sweeping across the small Caribbean island and would later change the face of music in the UK.

This was the sound of ska!

Duke Vin was the main deejay on Tom The Great Sebastian’s Beat Street system in Jamaica and he built the first sound system in the UK in 1956. Count Suckle started the famous Roaring Twenties club on Carnaby Street in 1962 and Daddy Vego was its first deejay.

Daddy Vego would later set up People’s Sound Record Store, a bustling red, green and gold-painted reggae emporium that is the only non-gentrified business on All Saint’s Rd. Forty years ago that same street was rapidly evolving into one of London’s frontlines and a virtual no-go area for the police.

Count Suckle’s Roaring 20’s club was the first club that welcomed black people in London and its electric mix of rhythm and blues, soul and ska made it the busiest clubs in London for years, attracting all the leading musicians of the day.

Now in their 70’s, Vego and Vin, both continue to do as they have always done, promoting and pushing Jamaican music. Daddy Vego is still running his record store and plays a vital role in the Ladbroke Grove community with his youth projects and street fairs. Duke Vin is still a deejay, playing on sound systems at the Notting Hill Carnival and to packed clubs such as Gaz’s Rocking Blues in Soho.

These three men are the last surviving members of a small group of Jamaicans who played an instrumental role in bringing the sound and musical culture of Jamaica to the UK.

This is their story and the story of their sound.

Watch the trailer below:

Then check out this interview with the director Gus Berger.
Any interest in this film should be directed to gusberger@hotmail.com

I've been involved in the Los Angeles music scene since at least 1995 going to shows, promoting, spinning records and running labels. Ska and Early Reggae are my passion among other things of course.