Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Popular music originating in Jamaica in the 1960s, having elements of rhythm and blues, jazz, and calypso and marked by a fast tempo and a strongly accented offbeat.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A style of Jamaican dance music combining elements of Caribbean calypso and mento with American jazz and rhythm and blues.

Etymologies

From the phrase (Love) Ska(voovie), greeting used by Jamaican bassist Cluet Johnson, one of the early creators of ska, or imitative of the sound of a guitar in tandem with a rim click on a snare drum.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Origin uncertain. Probably imitative of the crisp guitar sound; other suggestions include a contraction of American slang skavoovie, or of speed polka. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Subject: 2.1: Introduction In response to all of those ` ` Isn't ska some dance form of reggae? '' questions, I present the following historical background to the music we call ska, gleaned from liner notes I have lying about the place, various postings to (news: alt. music.ska), and sundry emailings with helpful ska fans.

    FAQ: Alt.Music.Ska by Tomas Willis (Part 2)

  • Central Park SummerStage -- Hear some Latin American ska and funk on Friday, see a new play commissioned by the NYC Parks Department on Saturday, and get down with Jimmy Cliff and up-and-coming reggae stars on Sunday.

    About.com Manhattan, NY

  • The English Beat was one of the first and best bands to play around with the proto-reggae style known as ska, with a mind toward bending it into a form of pop fit for England in the 1970s.

    Continental, Experimental

  • Add a dash of spouge from Barbados, tumba from Curacao, scratch from St. Thomas and earlier forms of reggae called ska and rocksteady.

    Bob Schulman: Gettin' Hip to Caribbean Music

  • Dagens Media skriver i en rewrite av ett inlägg på Harvard Nieman Journalism Lab om att Google utvecklar ett system för mikrobetalningar som medieföretag ska kunna använda för ...

    Google developing a micropayment platform and pitching newspapers: “‘Open’ need not mean free” » Nieman Journalism Lab

  • David King (dave's blog) and Marianne Kruppa (aka ska girlie)

    LiB's photos from Internet Librarian 2005

  • Do you know, for example, why ska, reggae's musical precursor, is called ska?

    Telegraph.co.uk - Telegraph online, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph

  • This mixture, termed ska-core or ska punk, combines the accented upbeats and horns of ska with the quick tempo, distorted guitars and rough or yelled vocals of hardcore punk rock.

    The Daily Campus

  • To be fair, the Bosstones never self-identified as ska, and quickly but politely corrected any interviewer that called them ska.

    Original Signal - Transmitting Buzz

  • If you listen to this album as I did, unaware of their 'ska' whatever roots and their past records I was just blown away with a genre defying, indescribable collection of songs that are played by what I now consider to be some of the best musicians I have currently heard or seen.

    Punknews.org

Comments

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  • Ska is linked with punk in my mind for many reasons The Mighty Mighty Bosstones being one of them. See Free Associate

    Ska (pronounced /ska/ or in Jamaican Patois /skja/) is a music genre that originated in Jamaica in the late 1950s and was a precursor to rocksteady and reggae.

    Ska combined elements of Caribbean mento and calypso with American jazz and rhythm and blues. It is characterized by a walking bass line, accented guitar or piano rhythms on the offbeat, and in some cases, jazz-like horn riffs. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant musical genre of Jamaica, and it was also popular with British mods. Many skinheads, in various decades, have also enjoyed ska (along with reggae, rocksteady and other genres). Music historians typically divide the history of ska into three periods: the original Jamaican ska scene of the 1960s, the 2 Tone ska revival that started in England in the late 1970s, and the third wave ska movement, which started in the 1980s.

    _Wikipedia

    February 13, 2008