Book Review: Heather Augustyn, “Ska: The Rhythm of Liberation”

Written by Book Reviews, Books, Music

Heather headshot 1

Ska:  The Rhythm Of Liberation is a very serious study of the upbeat, rhythm-based music that was born in Jamaica.  While other books have been written about the “2 Tone” movement that took place in England in the late ’70’s, this is a much deeper, fact finding volume that traces ska’s roots back to slavery.  It describes the foundations of the ska traditions – from the first “sound systems” and jazz influences in the 1940’s.  The fine-toothed details include the obscure but vital record labels that began issuing this music in Jamaica during the ’60’s; gives recognition to all (or as close to all) the forgotten musicians who helped to develop and refine ska, blue beat, rock steady and the various permutations.  And, of course, it delves into the British 2 Tone explosion and the American ska revival that was spearheaded by Moon Records.

This painstakingly researched work deserves not only attention but a seeking out by anyone who has an affinity and love of ska or a true musicologist.  Rankin’ – come forward!