Jamaica To Resurrect Skatalites in Hopes of Bringing Ska Back

The SkatalitesIt’s true! Prime Minister of Jamaica, Portia Simpson-Miller, has recently revealed that as the island has moved away from the music programs and love it once had for it’s rich heritage she intends to resurrect the band that first put them on the international map as they say. She intends to use holograms, much like when Tupac Shakur took the stage at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival, of the original members of the iconic band The Skatalites to help promote the island’s rcih musical history to the world yet again much like they once did at the World’s Fair in 1964.

The members Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Don Drummond, Jerome “Jah Jerry” Haynes, Lloyd Knibb, Tommy McCook, Jackie Mittoo, John “Dizzy Johnny” Moore have all passed onto that great band stand in the sky except Lester “Ska” Sterling who still continues to tour with new members. It’s not sure how much he will be involved but she says I’m sure he will participate.

It’s also a way to make up for NOT having the Skatalites as the island’s band of choice the first time around. That honor was given of course to the more uptown Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, along with a plethora of talented singers of the time including Prince Buster, Jimmy Cliff and Millie Small, at the time that highlighted the rich diversity and growth the island had first had just a few short years after independence.

She also mentioned that Snoop Dogg being so instrumental in bringing Tupac Shakur back and his recent conversion to Rastafarianism along with his album Reincarnated and the 50th anniversary independence celebrations got her thinking about the afterlife and what it means to the island. The island has always been steeped in religious and spiritial overtones of Duppies and the like. She doesn’t think this will be a negative experience at all and that the duppies of the long dead bandmates will help foster the program.

In recent years, ever since that first real showing of the technology via Tupac Shakur taking the stage at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival, the technology has grown leaps and bounds from everyone to Micheal Jackson, Elvis Presely, Latin popstar Selena, even rappers Biggie Smalls and Big Pun and most recently Amy Winehouse getting the nods to potentially stage amazing afterlife comebacks. Next up? Bob Marley, Freddie Mercury, Jimmy Hendrix and James Brown I hope.

That’s all I’ve heard so far so when I hear more I’ll be sure to update you!

You can watch the full video of the classic Jamaican documentary from 1964 that featured many of the artists that performed at the 1964 World’s Fair below.

Jamaican Ska – Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
Sammy Dead-O – Eric ‘Monty’ Morris
One Eyed Jack – Jimmy Cliff
Wash Wash – Prince Buster
Treat Me Bad – The Maytals
She Will Never Let You Down – The Maytals
So Marie – The Charmers
Rough ‘N’ Tough – Stranger Cole
Two Roads Before Me – Roy & Yvonne
I Don’t Know – The Blues Busters
Sammy Dead-O – Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
King Of Kings – Jimmy Cliff


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.