With the approach of the big ska show I've mentioned, I've promised to bring you a variety of bands over the next couple of months. Today's band is sadly not going to be at Ska Weekend, at least not this year, though it would be cool.
Today's band is also a band that is new to me. I was screwing around, wasting time on YouTube, and I don't know now how exactly I happened to decide to give these guys a listen, but I did, and I'm happy I did.
To understand part of my delight with the Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra you'll need a tiny bit of ska history. In the '30's and '40's, American radio broadcasts of jazz and R&B were making those styles popular in Jamaica. Also popular at this time was the sound system, a mobile party basically, which DJ's would set up in neighborhoods, often in competition with others. Many of the top DJ's went on to become the top producers of the new sound, the combination of American music and Jamaican music that became ska.
Ska became the top music in Jamaica, and the music was taken to the UK, immigrating with its fans. This began ska's second wave of popularity, and a few years later, ska resurfaced again, its third wave, as American bands started playing this new music. Each wave has seen ska taken in new and varied directions as it's popularity grows and moves around the world.
It's not at all surprising to find a Japanese band playing ska, as the Japanese seem to have a knack for distilling everything down to its essence. Maybe I'm just making that last part up, but you can't argue with what they've done to this decades old hybrid music, the ska.
So I give you Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra. This song is more than kid safe in that, if your kids don't dance a little and act crazy a little, then something may not be quite right. You can watch the embedded video, but I suggest you click HERE to go to the YouTube page and click the embiggening button in the bottom right corner of the player. These guys deserve to be seen full screen.