The Skatalites began performing in Jamaica in May 1964. The group was so hot that their first rehearsal became a show. So many people had lined up outside the venue, they decided to just charge admission and let everybody in! They were the top musicians on the island at the time, having come together after playing in different bands and on various recording sessions. These records were made to be played at the many competing sound systems around the island. The band became legendary, backing all the developing artists of the day, such as Toots and The Maytals, Prince Buster and "The Wailing Wailers" featuring Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. These groups were all recording on the new beat called ska, which had an infectious rhythm that was catching on like wildfire. Eventually, the beat slowed down into rocksteady, and then reggae. This wildfire spread unstoppably around the world, developing into a huge musical tree with many stylistic branches, including lovers rock, dub, dancehall/ ragga, ska-punk,, and others. Hugely popular groups, like The Police, The Clash, The Specials, The English Beat, Sublime and No Doubt, all have their roots firmly planted in the music of The Skatalites.
Since reforming after an almost 20 year hiatus in 1983, and beginning regular touring as a unit in 1989, they have not stopped thrilling audiences in every corner of the globe. Even after 48 years, and various lineup changes as members leave one stage for another, the band continues to perform and record new music in the inimitable Jamaican style, like only they can. The road has been long and hard, and sadly, seen most of the original members pass on. Often asked "when will you stop?" and "how do you keep doing it after all these years?", the answer is simple: never - It's the love of the music and the way our fans respond that keep us going Forward!
Featuring original alto sax man Lester "Ska" Sterling and vocalist Doreen Shaffer, along with the current lineup of outstanding musicians they have chosen to accompany them, the band proudly presents live the music of Jamaican Ska.
Forever indebted to the inspiration and talent of Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Don Drummond, Jerome “jah jerry” Haynes, Lloyd Knibb, Tommy McCook, Donat “Jackie” Mittoo, John “Dizzy Johnny”Moore, and Lester Sterling, collectively known as The Skatalites.
Van Gordon Martin Band
VGMB is a collective of players from all points east and west. We strive to bring heavy Funk and Groove music to you!
Van Gordon Martin is a dynamic virtuoso of the guitar. From slapping it like a bass to playing mind bending solo's, he derives textures as diverse as his Chicago roots. From the island sounds of Reggae to gritty Soul, Blues, and R&B. VGM covers all the bases. As a youth he was a National Merritt scholar in jazz guitar. Studied for a short time at Berklee Collage of music in Boston. At age 19 he pl
ayed his first show with legendary Parliament Funkadelic keybordist and musical director Bernie Worrell.
As former Lead Guitarist and song writer for Boston based band Spiritual Rez , Van has shared stages with the likes of George Clinton and PFunk, Toots and the Maytals, Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, and Gregory Issacs.
Now embarking on a solo career VGM has made a break out effort in "No Limit to Love". VGM is touring in support of the album with a full band and solo acoustic.
SUBATOMIC SOUND SYSTEM
NYC’s Subatomic Sound System is a tightrope between the reggae roots of dub and the future of bass music. Subatomic Sound System performs as either a DJ, live electronic act, or complete band and is spearheaded by Emch, founder of Dub Champions Festival and the Subatomic Sound label, producer, DJ, musician, Brooklyn Radio host, label manager for Kingston-based People’s Records JA, Dubspot music instructor, and promoter. After collaborating with Dubblestandart in 2008 to produce Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s first dubstep tracks, numerous projects followed and Subatomic Sound System, with a unique blend of live instruments and electronics, has become Scratch’s go-to band for reinventing the Black Ark vibes on recent tours, including his 2013 Coachella & RBMA appearances. Subatomic Sound System has released a string of chart topping productions, remixes, and releases include collaborations with icons like Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, Elephant Man, filmmaker David Lynch, Anthony B, and Ari Up, as well as next-generation pioneers like Jahdan Blakkamoore, Stereotyp, Frikstailers, Dub Gabriel, and many more.