斯卡 Ska

早在50年代的中期,美国的节奏布鲁斯(Rhythm and Blues —也就是我们现在所说的R&B),通过迈阿密、新奥尔良、孟菲斯等地的广播电台传入牙买加后,当地的一些音乐家便将其与牙买加当地的传统民间音乐Mento(门特)相融合,并混杂了美式灵歌的演唱,逐渐形成了Ska(斯卡)音乐。Ska音乐的速度较快,感觉更轻易让人随之舞动蹦跳起来,更加活泼跳跃,节奏强调反拍的重音,乐队中除了采用传统的Mento音乐的乐器(如木吉他、各种拉美打击乐器)外还加入了铜管乐、
  电吉他、电贝司和键盘等乐器,并突出铜管的华丽色彩。而电吉它的反拍切分演奏技巧也更是体现了Ska音乐的特性,更轻易与其他音乐区别开来。Ska不仅延承了Mento中诙谐的论题和音乐上的特点,其更为欢快的节奏则更能体现出牙买加这个布满阳光和希望的加勒比海岛国的开放与热情。 Ska marked the true beginning of Jamaican popular music, coming to prominence during the early and mid-'60s right around the time the island was granted its independence. Ska ensembles were generally a blend of electric instrumentation and horns most popular in jazz (saxophone, trumpet, trombone).

Although structurally simple, ska has a bevy of influences, synthesizing American R&B, jump blues, Jamaican mento, calypso and other Caribbean styles, big-band swing, Afro-Cuban jazz, pocomania and other local religious folk music, and European ballroom dances. Of those, the first three -- R&B, jump blues, and mento -- were the most important building blocks. Jump blues tunes -- both sax-driven instrumentals and vocal numbers by artists like Wynonie Harris and Louis Jordan -- had become wildly popular at Jamaican dance parties, with sound-system operators making frequent trips to the U.S. searching for the hottest and rarest 45s. As R&B shifted into rock & roll, less crossover-oriented American performers like Little Richard and Fats Domino also became Jamaican favorites. In 1959, when the boogie beat had become less important in rock-oriented R&B, top sound-system owners like Clement "Coxsone" Dodd and Duke Reid (as well as restaurateur-cum-producer Leslie Kong) took matters into their own hands, forming their own labels, acting as producers for local talent, and recording the music their audiences wanted to hear when it was no longer readily available in the U.S. From there, the music took on distinctly Jamaican characteristics, melding influences from all the different styles in which Jamaican instrumentalists had been trained. The most important of these was mento, Jamaica's first indigenous musical form; it was essentially a blend of Caribbean calypso and Jamaican folk music. Mento ensembles used the banjo to play chords on the off-beat, and when this practice was transferred to Jamaican R&B recordings, those off beats were punched up and strongly emphasized because of R&B's emphasis on driving rhythm. This was essentially the birth of ska, and that rhythmic emphasis continued to dominate Jamaican music for decades to come. Important ska vocalists included Derrick Morgan, Laurel Aitken, Prince Buster (himself a sound system owner), Desmond Dekker, Toots & the Maytals, and the very young Bob Marley and the Wailers; the Skatalites, featuring a number of virtuosic soloists and led by the mercurial trombonist Don Drummond, were far and away the top instrumental group, and also served as the house backing band for Coxsone Dodd's prolific Studio One. Ska's popularity declined in 1966, when the slower, cooler rock steady style found favor with younger listeners during the particularly hot summer; moreover, ska lost one of its top performers that year when Don Drummond was arrested for the murder of his girlfriend and committed to an institution (he died there several years later). Ska enjoyed a brief and popular revival in the U.K. during the late '70s and early '80s, thanks to the enthusiasm of many British punk fans for reggae records, and the skipping, infectious ska beat in particular. A more rock-oriented take on ska became popular in the U.S. during the '90s, although it was much farther removed from the music's Jamaican origins than the British version had been.

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