If you’ll remember back a few weeks, to the post Marco Werman submitted to SBB- it was essentially his collection of notes from his trip to Jamaica. It seems those notes have bore more fruit than just a few segments on the radio.
PBS has just released his segment featuring Studio One, Alpha Boys School, and Kingston life in general. A few familiar faces pop up along the way. Werman knows to evoke the name of Bob Marley early on, but he quickly opens the story up to cover many more musicians.
Great job, Marco!
FRONTLINE World – Jamaica: The Alpha Boys
Guest Blogger, Marco Werman: Notes From a Sound System
Ska Online: The World Loves JA Music
Feb 10 2009
I can’t believe how many times I’ve heard a great NPR or PRI story that covers Jamaican music recently. That’s National Public Radio and Public Radio International, for those that aren’t hip. This time around, The World, an afternoon world news program presented by PRI and BBC World News, sent their host down to Jamaica to file a few reports on the regions musical history.
It’s clear that someone behind the story, be it host, Marco Werman, or another producer, loves Jamaican Music. These stories didn’t cover the recent Dancehall or Reggaeton crazes- the focus is on the old school stuff. One piece goes back to Alpha Boys School, while another finds Werman on the streets in search of Studio One.
This stuff was nothing new to me and there were a few things said that I don’t think are true- but they were definitely worth a listen if for no other reason than to hear our favorite music being characterized as a vital part of today’s musical framework.
Here’s the links:
Report on Alpha Boys School (Featuring Errol Dunkley!!)
Rise and Fall of Jamaica’s Music Scene
DJ Dice Set List – A reconstruction of an oldies Sound System party, thrown every week in Rae Town, Kingston, JA.
Geo Quiz – Largest City in Jamaica – A total freebie, from what is usually a really hard geography quiz- but with a shout out to Ska.
Related Ska Blah Blah posts (hours of listening within these links):
Dub Online: NPR profiles Reggae Ice Cream Truck
Ska Online: NPR hearts Jamaican Music
Aug 20 2008
It’s well over a year old, but it’s news to me. This MOJO Magazine article covers the Skatalites from the Alpha Boys School up to their current legacy in JA. There’s even a special insert covering Don Drummond’s sad story, specifically.
It’s in PDF format and hosted by skatalites.com – Link to PDF
Feb 24 2008
A few years back, the BBC made a great documentary, Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music. It was fantastic, covering the birth of Ska during Jamaica’s independence and all the way up to Dance Hall.
I was most interested in the first episode which dealt mostly with the early ska days. The film takes us to the Alpha Boys School, and introduces us to the nun that helped raise the Skatalites, as well as many other notable Jamaican musicians. The cameras travel down the neighborhoods of Kingston where the original studios and clubs have been left to rot. We hear from likes of Lord Creator, and the then Prime Minister of Jamaica, before the film follows ska’s path to the UK, where we are privy to interviews with UB40, Paul Simonon, and many others.
If you have friends that need a good primer on Jamaican Roots music, I highly recomend this show. My only complaint is that the narrator states outright that Ska is Jamaica’s first type of music, even though the guests anecdotally refer to both Mento and Nyahbinghi in the interviews.
Here now, is the first episode of this great series, broken into four parts (as per Daily Motion rules)
UPDATE 05/10/08: DailyMotion is not cooperating with my embed plugin, but the links are still active:
P.S. DailyMotion is a great site. They let you upload longer segments than YouTube, and I love the way they display their tags, making the more popular tags more prominent than the others. Try searching for obvious tags: Ska, Reggae, or your favorite band. But given their constant embedding issues and increasingly limited content, I don’t really advocate the site any longer.
Jun 28 2007