Born in Jamaica in the late-1950s, ska has been through a number of revivals since those days, rising and falling in popularity but never quite going away. With its hypnotic bass lines, upbeat brass sections and elements of jazz, calypso and rhythm and blues, the genre, spearheaded by bands like Jamaica’s Skatalites and Desmond Dekker, inspired a generation of musicians, forking off along the way into rocksteady and reggae.
Adopted by UK mods in the 1960s, a second wave of ska there evolved in the late-1970s into 2 Tone – think The Specials, Madness, Bad Manners and The Beat – and in a third, international in the 1980s that included the USA’s No Doubt.
Os Paralamas do Sucesso, formed in the late-1970s, were one of Brazil’s first ska-influenced bands; there’s still a small but lively ska scene bubbling away in various Brazilian cities. Bringing some of them together in SP in November, the one-day Skarrocks Festival features performances by seven bands from São Paulo and Paraná, plus Tempranos, from Paraguay.
‘There are some really great bands in São Paulo,’ says Gus, the festival’s creator and the lead singer, guitarist and keyboardist of the band Seu Bené. ‘We also meet loads of good bands playing around the country. I wanted to bring them together for a festival around the rhythm I’ve been hearing most over the last two years. Ska has influenced rock, rap and punk’, says Gus, whose band’s eclectic sound has a discernable ska influence. ‘I called the festival “Skarrocks” because I wanted to promote that mix, which is still going on today.’
The festival starts at 4.20pm and is preceded by a free session of live painting, skate demos and documentaries from 11am at the Beco do Aprendiz close by. For full details see facebook.com/skarrocks.
To get a more regular fix of ska and reggae at this venue, check out the bi-monthly Jamboree.